Introduction

Atrophy may be a term that describes the atrophy of cell tissue. On a bigger scale, atrophy can see a discount within the size and performance of a muscle or limb. This process is not permanent but gradual and chronic. However, atrophy is not exclusively a pathologic state. Atrophy is a neighbourhood of our natural, homeostatic development. The wrinkles that appear on our faces as we age is atrophy, as is our thinning hair and therefore the loss of teeth. There are many reasons for why a tissue may atrophy. It is often caused by age or genetics, like inheriting a faulty set of genes that signal cell lysing or inhibit an important protein from assembling. Another factor is environmental change. Sometimes we may experience some kinds of nutritional deficits but that may vary as per our health condition and income status. Or a physical injury may damage our tissues or the nerves innervating our muscles. Likewise, chronic illness can impact our tissues permanently.

The long term consequence of tissue atrophy is that it diminishes the impacted limb’s ability to perform its functions. However, the particular degree of injury depends on its partial or complete effect and on the topic of atrophy. Atrophy that targets nerves or a wide-spread muscle will systematically affect the body. This kind of effect would end in pronounced deficits (i.e. multiple sclerosis). In fact, atrophy patients often show two clinical signs: shortened limbs and bodily weakness.


Atrophy Types

While atrophy can describe a good array of conditions, it can arise either naturally or from disease. Some presentations might occur for different reasons. For example, Disuse atrophy may be a progressive withering of bone and muscle that results from prolonged inactivity. If a patient develops a chronic illness like cancer or HIV, bone density and muscle mass whittle away considerably. Cachexia may be a clinical name for an unintentional muscle loss that follows illness or precedes death. Hence, it’s colloquial name, “muscle wasting.” an equivalent applies to bed-ridden patients with spinal injuries, paraplegia, or sudden disabilities. However, disuse atrophy also can happen in healthy individuals. For instance, a student athlete may experience some disuse atrophy during their off-season from the game they play in face of a reduced workload.


Symptoms of Muscle Wasting?

  • General or localized weakness

  • Limb numbness

  • Ataxia

  • Pain

  • Muscle spasms

  • Unintentional weight loss

Pathologic atrophy presents itself in many areas of the body for various reasons. We will go more thorough into common presentations, but it's notable to say that not all atrophy affects muscle. Atrophy can target animal tissue fibres, like tendon, bone, ligaments, and fat tissue. Neural diseases (like MS or Parkinson’s) atrophy brain tissue and neural cells, or sever the connections within. With long-term hormonal or steroid excess, or nutritional imbalance, Glandular atrophy can take place in the body. Atrophy, then, is sort of involved and relies on an interplay of signalling events that still are understood.


Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy typically refers to the weakening of skeletal muscles. These muscles form the framework that helps in the movement of the limbs. They are also called striated muscles that perform a voluntary movement. There are generally two sorts of muscular atrophy: disuse and neurogenic atrophy. Disuse atrophy results from muscle inactivity, as discussed before. When muscles themselves aren't used enough by a patient who is weak, bed-ridden, or paralyzed, the inactive muscles will whittle away with lack of use. This leads to a gradual decline within the total muscle mass. However, disuse atrophy also can enjoy physiotherapy. In some instances, the exercise of the affected muscles can reverse atrophy completely and better nutrition can aid within the body’s recovery.

Neurogenic atrophy, on the opposite hand, maybe a more severe type. Unlike disuse atrophy, neurogenic atrophy will affect the nerves connected to the muscles instead of the muscles themselves. Nerve damage is far harder to treat and can not reverse with exercise. Common causes of nerve damage include alcoholic abuse, toxins, and injury. Other samples of diseases that affect the nerves that engage muscle movement are ALS, Polio, carpal tunnel syndrome and medulla spinalis injury. Diagnosis of muscle atrophy can be done at a doctor’s clinic which includes measuring the muscle size of the affected limb, and taking blood tests, MRI, and nerve studies.


Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, is an autosomal recessive spinal disorder that's carried by 1 in 40 people. SMA specifically atrophies different neuron cells within the medulla spinalis. Our spinal cords are rich in nerve cells that help coordinate our body’s movement. The bulk of the neurons that control our muscles are often found within our medulla spinalis. But in fact, the atrophy eventually affects muscles, as they whittle away in response to not receiving signals from the damaged nerves and are therefore inactive.


Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy may be a disorder that attacks the muscle lining of the vagina and tract. Common symptoms include vaginal soreness and painful intercourse. Low levels of estrogen are responsible for vaginal atrophy. Estrogen loss occurs during peri- or post-menopause, but also during breastfeeding in new mothers. An artificial way that estrogen levels may diminish is with long-term medication that treats estrogen conditions like endometriosis. Though taboo surrounding vaginal disease prevents many ladies from treating their symptoms, vaginal atrophy is often ameliorated with vaginally administered estrogen creams and lubricant.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Which Disease Causes Unintended Muscle Shortening?

Ans - Atrophy can lead to a discount within the size and performance of a muscle or limb. This process is not permanent but gradual and chronic. However, atrophy is not exclusively a pathologic state.

2. What is Vaginal Atrophy?

Ans - Vaginal atrophy may be a disorder that attacks the muscle lining of the vagina and tract. Common symptoms include vaginal soreness and painful intercourse.

Low levels of estrogen are responsible for vaginal atrophy. Estrogen loss occurs during peri- or post-menopause, but also during breastfeeding in new mothers.