The Greek word atrophía passed into Latin as atrophĭa, which later came to Castilian as atrophy. The concept refers to the absence of development of a structure or body part.
In the field of biology, atrophy is called a decrease in the number and / or size of the tissues that make up an organ, which happens to have functional problems and a lower weight and volume than usual.
Atrophy is linked to a decrease in cell size due to the detriment of cell mass. These atrophic cells are still alive, although their function is limited. Therefore, when they form tissues and organs, these structures are deficient.
There are different types of atrophy. It is called senile atrophy to the condition that they get the organs and tissues of a subject when it reaches an advanced age.
The degenerative atrophy is unique to accompany a process that causes destruction of cells. This is due to changes in the nucleus of the cell and its cytoplasm, causing necrosis.
The simplest atrophy, moreover, is the most common and is a low volume of muscle elements, resulting in the shrinking tissues. This atrophy appears, for example, when a person maintains a very long fast.
The muscle atrophy, causing paralysis, can arise from malnutrition, cancer, a heart condition and other disorders and disadvantages. Its treatment requires inhibiting the causes that cause it and promoting the development of muscle mass.
Delving further into the concept of muscular atrophy, two well-defined types are distinguished: neurogenic and that arising from disuse. The first is the more serious of the two, and can appear as a result of disease or injury to the nerves that are connected to the muscles. Another difference from the other type of atrophy is that it usually appears more suddenly.
Among the diseases that attack the nerves that control muscle: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as disease Lou Gehrig); damage to a single nerve, something that occurs, for example, with carpal tunnel syndrome; Guillian-Barre syndrome; nerve damaged due to diabetes, alcoholism, or injury, among other reasons; poliomyelitis; injured spinal cord.
With regard to disuse atrophy, its cause is the lack of use of the muscles or the extreme decrease of activity. One way to reverse this situation is to improve your diet and start a routine of physical exercise. Among the factors that usually lead to this type of atrophy are the following:
* being bedridden due to certain health problems that limit or prevent movement;
* jobs that require staying in a seat for long hours;
* a brain disease, such as a stroke, that prevents movement of the limbs.
While some individuals can adapt to muscle atrophy, we should not underestimate the loss of strength and mobility that even the mildest cases can cause. When the condition lasts indefinitely and there does not seem to be a logical explanation for its presence, then it is time to contact a doctor. In general, a good method to detect an abnormality in the function of the muscles is to compare the limbs on one side with those on the other.
In the office, doctors often ask their patients when the muscle atrophy started, if it has worsened since then, and if it has detected other symptoms. To determine the nerves that have been involved, you will examine the extremities and take measurements of the muscles.