Alternate Names : Muscle wasting, Wasting, Atrophy of the muscles
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.
Some muscle atrophy occurs normally with aging. Other causes may include:
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