Muscle atrophy

What is muscle atrophy?

Muscle atrophy is a condition of decreased muscle tissue. The main reason for losing muscle mass is lack of physical activity.

This may be due to an illness or injury that makes it very difficult or impossible to move the legs or arms.

Loss of muscle mass is also possible when one of your legs, for example, is smaller in the sense of being weaker than the other.

If we have a similar condition, you should schedule an examination with a specialist. And he will determine what treatment is needed.

In some cases, the loss of muscle mass can be stopped and the process reversed through proper diet, exercise and physical therapy.

What are the symptoms of muscular atrophy?

One of the most obvious symptoms of muscular atrophy is the reduced size of one of the limbs, such as the arms or legs, compared to the other side of the body.

This size defect can be noticed visually and is often a signal of a potential problem with the muscular system.

Additionally, a feeling of weakness in the affected limb is a commonly recognized symptom. Affected individuals may feel that their muscles are not as capable of performing tasks that were previously easy for them.

For example, if muscle atrophy affects the hands, everyday tasks such as holding objects, pushing and pulling can become significantly more difficult.

There are various factors that can contribute to the development of muscle atrophy. One of the frequent reasons is reduced physical activity.

If you are or have been physically inactive for a long period of time, your muscles will not receive the stimulation they need to keep them strong and functional.

This can lead to gradual weakening and reduction of muscle mass.

In addition to physical inactivity, other factors such as chronic diseases, nervous system disorders, hormone imbalances and even malnutrition can contribute to muscle atrophy.

For example, some neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can cause severe muscle atrophy due to damage to motor neurons.

To prevent or alleviate muscle atrophy, a number of measures can be taken. Regular physical activity is key to maintaining muscle mass and strength.

Strength training, such as lifting weights or exercising with weight machines, can be extremely helpful.

In addition, a healthy and balanced diet rich in protein and nutrients is important to support muscle health.

Early diagnosis and taking appropriate measures for prevention and treatment are essential for maintaining optimal muscle function and quality of life.

What are the reasons?

Muscles gradually weaken if they are not active. But still, it takes time.

Even after atrophy, in most cases normal muscle tone and volume is restored through an appropriate combination of diet and physical activity.

Muscles can also atrophy if you are bedridden for a long time or unable to move certain parts of your body due to illness. Astronauts’ muscles also atrophy after a few days of weightlessness.

Other causes of muscle atrophy are:

  • The lack of motor activity for a longer time;
  • Aging;
  • Prolonged and constant alcohol intake;
  • Burns;
  • Injuries and broken bones;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Stroke;
  • Prolonged drug therapy with corticosteroids;
  • Malnutrition.

Diseases that can cause muscle atrophy or make mobility difficult are:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS, also known as Lou Gehring’s disease. The disease affects the nerve cells controlling the voluntary movements of the muscles.
  • Dermatomyositis – inflammatory muscle disease
  • Muscular dystrophy – a hereditary disease, causing muscle weakness.
  • Multiple sclerosis – an autoimmune disease that leads to difficulty in muscle movement.
  • Arthritis – the most – the common form of arthritis that leads to limitation of joint movements.
  • Poliomyelitis – a viral disease that affects muscle tissue and sometimes leads to complications that can become the cause of paralysis .
  • Neuropathy – damage to a nerve or group of nerves, resulting in loss of sensitivity or muscle dysfunction.
  • Spinal muscular atrophy – a hereditary disease that leads to the loss of muscle tissue in the leg and arm.

Treatment of muscular atrophy

Treatment depends on the diagnosis and the amount of muscle mass lost. All co-morbidities of muscle atrophy should be considered. The following treatment methods and procedures are used for muscle atrophy:

  • Physical exercises;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Ultrasound therapy;< /li>
  • Surgery;
  • Dietary changes.

Exercise in aquatic environment in case of movement difficulties. A physical therapist can advise you on how to properly perform the exercises.

And if you have difficulty moving, the physiotherapist can move your arms and legs for you.

Ultrasound therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses sound waves to promote muscle hypertrophy.

Surgical treatment may be necessary if the joints, tendons, skin or muscles are too weak and this does not allow you to move. Surgery will be able to correct this condition if it is due to malnutrition.

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