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You are here : AllRefer.com > Health > Medical Symptoms > Muscle atrophy

Muscle atrophy

Alternate Names : Muscle wasting, Wasting, Atrophy of the muscles


Definition

Muscle atrophy is the wasting or loss of muscle tissue.

Overview & Considerations

There are two types of muscle atrophy.

Disuse atrophy occurs from a lack of physical exercise. In most people, muscle atrophy is caused by not using the muscles enough. People with sedentary jobs, medical conditions that limit their movement, or decreased activity levels can lose muscle tone and develop atrophy. This type of atrophy can be reversed with vigorous exercise or better nutrition.

Bedridden people can have significant muscle wasting. Astronauts who are away from the Earth's gravity can develop decreased muscle tone and lose calcium from their bones after just a few days of weightlessness.

The most severe type of muscle atrophy is neurogenic atrophy. It occurs when there is an injury to, or disease of a nerve. This type of muscle atrophy tends to occur more suddenly than disuse atrophy.

Examples of diseases affecting the nerves that control muscles:

Even minor muscle atrophy usually causes some loss of movement or strength.

Common Causes

Some muscle atrophy occurs normally with aging. Other causes may include:

Pictures & Images

Active vs. inactive muscle
Active vs. inactive muscle

Muscular atrophy
Muscular atrophy

     
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Review Date : 11/13/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.



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