What is atrophy, why does it happen? What are the types of atrophy, how is it treated?

Depending on the situation, this muscle atrophy can be: It can be localized or generalized, that is, affecting a single muscle, all muscles of a muscle group, or all muscles of the body.

What is Atrophy?

It can be congenital or acquired, that is, caused by an abnormality from birth, or it can be the result of an acquired condition. Physical immobilization can cause atrophy due to a lack of muscle activity. For example, muscle immobility can result from plaster placement during a fracture. This amyotrophy, also called muscle wasting, is benign and reversible.

Myopathies of hereditary origin can be the cause of muscle atrophy. This is especially true for various muscular dystrophies characterized by degeneration of muscle fibers.

What Causes Atrophy?

In some cases, the atrophy may have a neurological cause. Muscle atrophy is caused by damage to the nervous system. The development of muscle atrophy depends on many parameters, including the source of the muscle atrophy, the patient’s condition and medical treatment. In some cases, muscle atrophy can progress and spread to other muscles in the body or even the entire body. In the most severe forms, muscle atrophy can be irreversible.

Brain atrophy is a reduction in the size of the brain that affects part or all of the brain. It consists of loss of brain mass and can lead to neurological disorders. If cerebral atrophy affects memory areas such as the hippocampus, it manifests in memory impairment.

This condition is not a disease, but a syndrome consisting of several symptoms. It is usually considered an atypical form of Alzheimer’s disease. But unlike the usual form, the memory abilities of the sick person remain intact for a long time. Other causes are possible, such as Lewy body disease or other forms of frontotemporal degeneration. PCA usually occurs before age 65. If this disease is not transmitted by genes, there are some rare forms where inheritance plays a role.

What Are the Types of Atrophy?

Subcortical corticosteroid atrophy corresponds to a decrease in brain volume. This is an age-related physiological phenomenon. CT or MRI type cerebral imaging visualizes several signs suggestive of subcortical corticosteroid atrophy.

Diffuse cortico-subcortical atrophy is defined by a reduction in the size of structures located below the cerebral cortex. This type of atrophy is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. It can be seen during a brain scan and helps confirm the diagnosis in dementia. The cause of this atrophy is unknown.

Fronto-parietal subcortical corticosteroid atrophy is an atrophy of brain structures, mainly in the frontal and parietal regions. We mainly see memory, language or speech disorders. Severe forms of motor impairment can also occur.

Corticosteroid subcortical atrophy is largely age related. However, many diseases can be attributed to it, especially Alzheimer’s disease. It is seen in other forms of dementia or occurs after brain trauma, vascular accident, or brain tumor.

How is atrophy treated?

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for corticosteroid subcortical atrophy. The treatment of affected subjects should above all ensure that their deficiencies are compensated for, whether they have memory or behavioral problems. Antidepressants are sometimes used to provide relief to patients. Support from those around you is also an essential part of treatment.

Subcortical atrophy from corticosteroids may occur in infants following malformation, cerebral hypoxia, or cerebral hemorrhage. The child then shows epileptic seizures and developmental problems with a delay in learning to walk and talk. In general, the treatments offered are the same as for Alzheimer’s disease. It can also be prescribed in rehabilitation, speech therapy and orthoptics.

Treatment consists of treating the origin of the muscle atrophy. For example, drug therapy may be administered during inflammatory myopathy. Physiotherapy sessions may be recommended in case of prolonged physical inactivity.

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