Hypotonia, or muscle weakness, could be a sign of several illnesses and disorders. Hypotonia is typically present from birth or early childhood. Even if your child's hypotonia is not treated until his teenage years, he might be able to undergo treatment to gain muscle strength. Teenagers who are insecure about their muscle mass or strength might worry that they have a condition like hypotonia, though a pediatrician can rule out that diagnosis.
In addition to muscle weakness, other symptoms are often present in hypotonia, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Teenagers might experience a decrease in muscle tone or a reduced range of flexibility when stretching out the limbs. Those symptoms might be the only ones that someone with benign congenital hypotonia experiences, and the underlying cause of the hypotonia might go undiagnosed. Other children with hypotonia may experience more severe problems, like developmental delays, or difficulties eating, swallowing or breathing normally. If you suspect that your teenager may be suffering from hypotonia, take her to her pediatrician for evaluation immediately.
Hypotonia is a common symptom of muscular dystrophy, which comes in more than 30 different types, according to KidsHealth, a child development site. Some children might show symptoms of muscular dystrophy soon after birth, while it might take decades for it to surface in other people, according to the Mayo Clinic. Depending on the type of muscular dystrophy your child has, he might experience hypotonia, difficulty walking or moving and frequent falls. A doctor can prescribe medications, offer physical therapy, or perform surgery to correct problems associated with muscular dystrophy.
While Marfan syndrome is present in 1 in every 5,000 people at birth, this genetic disorder often does not become obvious until children begin growing, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Marfan syndrome causes connective tissues in the body, including muscle, to be weaker than usual. Medications and surgery might be necessary to correct the effects that Marfan syndrome has on a patient's heart and other vital organs.
Hypotonia is common with chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome, which is usually diagnosed soon after birth, according to KidsHealth. Children with Down syndrome typically reach developmental milestones such as walking and talking later than average, and might have problems with their hearts and lungs, in addition to other symptoms. Doctors will typically recommend physical therapy to improve muscle tone in children with Down syndrome, according to Boston Children's Hospital.