Muscle Loss As A Side Effect Of 3 Underdiagnosed Health Problems

2012-10-05 Wellescent |

The loss of muscle is a well-known aspect of aging that we can readily observe in our more senior friends and relatives. Such reductions in muscle mass are part of what makes us more frail in our later years. However, it is not only aging that can lead to a loss of muscle. Most people are aware of such devastating diseases as Muscular Dystrophy and ALS that can directly lead to a loss of muscle. But, in addition to these diseases, muscle loss is also frequently a side effect in many other disorders.

As a result, it is important to be aware of the different medical disorders that can lead to muscle loss as well as the different levels of risk associated with each condition. Understanding the potential causes of muscle loss enables earlier diagnosis of the primary condition to allow for treatment. It also sometimes allows for slowing or even preventing a reduction in muscle mass that would otherwise complicate matters later on.

Why Is Muscle Loss Dangerous To Our Health?

When we think of muscles, we think of those in our arms, legs, back and stomach area. Losing muscle mass in these areas will make us weaker but it is certainly not that dangerous. Of course, these are not the only muscles we have. Our heart and the diaphragm that powers our breathing are also muscles.

Loss of muscle mass due to disease becomes dangerous because it weakens our heart and can make it difficult for us to breath. In cases of significant muscle wasting, patients most often die due to suffocation because they simply cannot move enough air in and out of the lungs. For those who survive severe muscle loss, a long-term risk comes from the damage done to the heart.

Research from Ohio State University, in 2010, found that mice with muscle wasting also developed structural changes in their hearts. The heart tissue of the mice changed to become more fibrous indicating that scarring was taking place. To understand how serious the scarring of heart tissue is, consider that the development of such scar tissue is the same problem experienced by those who suffer a heart attack.

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Category: Disease Information, Disease Prevention, Health Risks, Symptom Information

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