Increase Your Knowledge About Muscular Atrophy
Muscular atrophy is a complex health condition that causes a substantial decrease in the size and strength of a person's muscle tissue. The speed with which it occurs usually varies depending on its cause. For some, it could take just a few days. Others might not see much of a difference until a few months have passed by.
One thing is for certain though, the condition's effects on the body are debilitating because of the burden that they put on movement. Without the strength to lift objects, stand up properly, or walk across a room, those who suffer from it are left unable to do most day-to-day tasks. Luckily, if muscular atrophy is caught in its early stages, the recovery process can be shortened because treatment can be started right away. It helps to learn more about its symptoms and types and some of the common questions that people ask their doctor about it.
What Are the Symptoms of Muscular Atrophy?
The most obvious symptom of muscular atrophy is a decrease in the size of the affected muscles. They will appear to be much smaller than they used to be. At first, a person might assume that this is caused by aging or not moving around as much as they used to. Over time, the condition will worsen though, and their strength will decrease significantly too. What some might find interesting about the condition is that it can occur in just one body part. For example, a person might have just one arm affected by it while the other one remains its usual size and strength.
What Are the Types of Muscular Atrophy?
The following are the three main types of muscular atrophy:
- Physiological Muscular Atrophy - Physiological muscular atrophy is the most common type of this condition. It is caused by simply not using the muscles in a specific body part enough. More often than not, it affects more than one limb at a time though since most people who get it are bedridden or lead a sedentary lifestyle, which limits their movement considerably. Treating physiological atrophy is fairly simple. All a person has to do is start exercising and eating a healthy diet that supports the regeneration of the muscle tissue.
- Pathological Muscular Atrophy - Unfortunately, those who develop pathological muscular atrophy are often dealing with a serious case of neglect because this condition mainly occurs in those who are facing starvation. Without the proper nutrition, the body breaks the muscles down for energy in order to keep a person alive. Senior citizens with dementia have the highest risk of getting it, but it can occur in small children too.
- Neurogenic Muscular Atrophy - Neurogenic muscular atrophy is the most serious type of muscle wasting. It is caused by damage to one or more nerves that are attached to a group of muscles. Because the nerves can no longer send signals to the muscles to tell them to contract, the body reacts by breaking down the muscle tissue since it thinks it is no longer needed. Diseases that cause damage to the nerves are mainly responsible for this condition, such as diabetes and polio. But spinal cord injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome can contribute to it too.
Questions and Answers:
The following are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions that people who have muscular atrophy talk to their doctor about:
Q: What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?
A: This is a specialized disorder which is inherited and passed on. This issue causes all skeletal muscles to atrophy at the same time and impair mobility.
Q: Is muscular atrophy preventable?
A: Some cases of muscular atrophy can be prevented by taking part in physical activity on a regular basis.
Q: How is muscular atrophy treated if there is nerve damage?
A: Whenever a person's nerves are not stimulating contractions of the muscles, it has to be done artificially with electrical stimulation.
Q: Is muscular atrophy genetic?
A: Most cases of muscular atrophy have no genetic basis. However, some of the illnesses that cause the condition do though, such as diabetes.
Q: Who can treat this condition?
A: Most general physicians can help people who have muscular atrophy that is caused by not getting enough exercise. If the condition is caused by nerve damage or other serious health problems though, a specialist might be needed instead, such as a neurologist. Some people also have to work with a physical therapist and a dietitian as part of their treatment.
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