Myopathy (muscle disease)

Legs | Rheumatology | Myopathy (muscle disease) (Disease)


Myopathy is a disease in which the muscles do not function normally because there is something wrong with their nerve supply and diseases in which the nerve supply is normal but the muscles are unable to respond normally to the nerve impulses are described as muscle diseases. These conditions are also described as neuromuscular diseases. Muscle disease caused by a deficient nerve supply is called neurogenic atrophy (atrophy means wasting) and a disease which arises in the muscle, with a normal nerve supply, is called myopathy.

Causes and Risk factors

When nerve impulses are sent from the brain to cause muscles to contract, the last stage of the pathway is from cells in the spinal cord along nerves which travel to the muscles, meeting them at a specialized connection called the myoneural junction. Interruption of the nerve supply (causing neurogenic atrophy) can be the result of disease of the spinal cord cells or the nerves which arise from them. Disease of the cells in the spinal cord is called motor neuron disease, disease in the nerves which connect them to the muscles is called peripheral neuropathy, and there are many types of both. When motor neuron disease is hereditary it is called spinal muscular atrophy.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A muscle biopsy can establish the diagnosis and blood tests will be done to determine the causes.

Supportive and symptomatic treatment may be the only treatment available or necessary. Other treatments may include: immunosuppressive medications, physical therapy, bracing to support weakened muscles, and surgery. ...

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