Recognizing the Types of Muscle Atrophy and How to Overcome It

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Recognizing the Types of Muscle Atrophy and How to Overcome It
Recognizing the Types of Muscle Atrophy and How to Overcome It

Muscle atrophy is a condition when muscle tissue shrinks or shrinks. This condition generally occurs if the muscle is not moved for a long time, for example due to a nerve disorder that causes paralysis. To overcome muscle atrophy, it is necessary to first know the type of muscle atrophy that occurs and what causes it

When muscle atrophy occurs, the shape of the body can change, for example one area of ​​the body becomes more sunken because the muscles are shrinking; or looks asymmetrical, for example one arm or leg looks smaller than the other arm or leg.

Recognize the Types of Muscle Atrophy and How to Overcome It - Alodokter

Types of Muscle Atrophy

Based on the cause, muscle atrophy can be divided into 3 types, namely:

Physiological muscle atrophy

Muscle atrophy of this type is generally experienced by people with low levels of physical activity. For example, sitting or lying down for too long and rarely exercising. Due to lack of physical activity, the muscles of the body are used less and less. This can cause muscle tissue to shrink and atrophy.

Physiological muscle atrophy can also occur in people undergoing long-term hospitalization, for example due to paralysis or coma.

Neurogenic muscle atrophy

Neurogenic type of muscle atrophy is caused by injury or disruption of the nerves that function to move muscles. When the muscle nerves are damaged, the muscles do not move because they do not get stimulation from the nerves.This causes muscle tissue to shrink and causes muscle atrophy.

There are several types of diseases that can trigger neurogenic muscle atrophy, including:

  • Stroke
  • Cerral palsy or cerebral palsy
  • Neuropathy
  • Polio
  • spinal cord injury
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • motor nerve disease

Pathological muscle atrophy

Pathological muscle atrophy is a type of muscle atrophy caused by certain diseases or medical conditions that prevent the body from forming muscle tissue. Pathological muscle atrophy can be caused by:

1. Malnutrition

Malnutrition or malnutrition can make the body lack protein and calories, so the body cannot produce muscle tissue. This can lead to a drastic reduction in muscle mass and lead to muscle atrophy.

2. Cushing's Syndrome

In Cushing's syndrome, glucocorticoid hormone levels in the body increase. The increase in these hormones can cause fat tissue to accumulate, while muscle tissue shrinks so that over time muscle atrophy occurs. Cushing's syndrome is common in people who take corticosteroid medications long term.

3. Cancer

Muscle atrophy can occur in patients with advanced cancer. This condition is also known as cachexia. Apart from the impact of cancer itself, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also cause side effects in the form of muscle tissue wasting or muscle atrophy.

4. muscle contracture

Muscle contractures occur when muscle tissue is replaced by stiff scar tissue. This makes the muscle difficult or immobile, and eventually muscle atrophy occurs. Muscle contractures usually result from injury, extensive burns, or long-term paralysis.

5. Autoimmune disorders

muscle damage due to inflammation or autoimmune disease can cause the size of muscle tissue to shrink. Several types of autoimmune diseases that can cause muscle atrophy are autoimmune myositis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms and How to Overcome Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy can cause different symptoms in each person, depending on the cause and severity of the muscle atrophy experienced. However, people with muscle atrophy usually experience the following symptoms:

  • One or more body parts are weakened
  • Parts of the body, such as hands or feet, appear smaller than others
  • Difficulty with activities, such as walking, sitting, swallowing, or grasping things

If you experience muscle atrophy, especially if you have experienced some of the symptoms above, you should immediately see a doctor for an examination and get the right treatment.To treat muscle atrophy, there are several treatments that doctors can do, including:

Physical activity

People who experience muscle atrophy but can still move as usual are advised to do more physical activity or exercise regularly. It aims to restore muscle tissue that has decreased in mass and becomes weak due to lack of movement. With regular exercise, muscle tissue will be re-formed and muscle atrophy will be resolved.


Physical rehabilitation or physiotherapy aims to restore muscle mass lost due to muscle atrophy. Physiotherapy is usually done to treat severe muscle atrophy or caused by certain diseases, such as stroke, paralysis, neurological disorders, and cancer.

Special diet

To increase muscle mass, the body needs calories and raw materials in the form of protein.Therefore, patients with muscle atrophy are advised to undergo a special diet high in protein so that the body's muscle tissue increases. This diet is also recommended for people with muscle atrophy due to malnutrition.

Drugs and surgery

In addition, the treatment of muscle atrophy can be done by giving drugs, such as drugs to treat cancer, autoimmune disorders, or nerve disorders that cause muscles to shrink. In certain cases, the doctor may perform surgery to treat muscle atrophy, especially those caused by muscle contractures.

If you experience muscle weakness or one of your muscles seems to be shrinking, immediately consult a doctor so that the cause can be identified and appropriate treatment given.

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