Muscles are a very important part of our body. Without the muscles, the body will lose its ability to move and carry out various actions. In fact, without the human muscular system, we probably wouldn't be able to survive. This is because most of the organs in the digestive system are made up of muscles, where even our hearts that keep pumping blood, is a muscle in itself. If the muscular system is affected by any disease or disorder, it leads to many minor and in some cases, major health problems. Not only do the disorders affect mobility, but also cause many other functional problems.
Diseases of the Muscular System
There are about 650 muscles in the human muscular system. Each muscle has a specific role to perform. These muscles help us talk, walk, sit, run, eat, hold things, and most importantly, help in the continuous pumping of the heart. Muscular system diseases cause many problems in the human body that affect the mobility and functioning of its various organs.
This is a genetic disease of a group of inherited muscle disease that cause damage to muscle fibres. The symptoms of muscular dystrophy
disease include weakness, loss of mobility and lack of coordination. The most common diseases classified as muscular dystrophy are Duchene, Becker, limb girdle, congenital, facioscapulohumeral, myotonic, oculopharyngeal, distal, and Emery-Dreifuss. The basic fact about muscular dystrophy is that there is no specific cure for muscular dystrophy.
is one of the diseases that affect the muscular system, where a person’s posture, balance and motor functions are affected. Brain damage
during or before childbirth causes loss of muscle tone which in turn leads to problems carrying out physical tasks in children. It is one of the most common congenital disorders.
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva
This is a very rare congenital disorder that causes the soft tissues to become hard like bones permanently. This causes the muscles, tendons, ligaments as well as other connective tissues to grow bones between the joints thus, leading to permanent restriction of movement
. There is no effective Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) treatment and pain is controlled using medications.
The inflammatory myopathy that leads to chronic muscle and skin inflammation
is called dermatomyositis. This is a progressive autoimmune disease of the connective tissues that causes muscle weakness. The dermatomyositis symptoms include muscle pain, hardened calcium deposits under the skin, gastrointestinal ulcers
, intestinal perforations, lung problems
, fever, fatigue and weight loss
. It leads to a red or violet coloured skin rash on the face, hands, knees, chest and back. There is no cure for this progressive muscle weakness but can be controlled using corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs.
Chronic compartment syndrome caused by compression of the blood vessels, nerves and muscles within a closed area of the body. This causes tissue death due to lack of oxygen. The compartment syndrome symptoms include severe muscle pain, feeling of tightness in muscles, paresthesia, paralysis
, etc. Treatment involves immediate surgical treatment
, called fasicotomy. This helps in relieving the pressure on the muscles and helping them become normal again.
is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue. There is a breakdown of the neuromuscular junction and thus, brain loses control over these muscles. The myasthenia gravis symptoms and signs include drooping eyelids
, difficulty swallowing, muscle fatigue, breathing difficulty
, inability to control facial expressions, etc. Medications and surgical intervention are a part of myasthenia gravis treatment.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a serious neurodegenerative disease
. This disease is also known as the Lou Gehrig's disease. In this disease, the motor neurons destroy that leads to loss of control over voluntary muscle movement. The early symptoms of ALS include difficulty to swallow, breath and speak. Paralysis is an advanced Lou Gehrig's disease symptom.
Mitochondrial myopathies is a condition where the mitochondrion, the powerhouse of cells, is damaged. The symptoms of this neuromuscular disease include muscle weakness, heart rhythm abnormalities
, deafness, blindness and heart failure
. In some cases, it leads to seizures, dementia
, drooping eyelids and vomiting. Other symptoms include breathing difficulty, nausea and headache.
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition where there is rapid skeletal muscle destruction
. This causes the muscle fibres to breakdown into myoglobin that is released into the urine. This leads to kidney failure as myoglobin is dangerous to the kidney. Rhabdomyolysis symptoms include muscle weakness, stiffness, and pain. If detected early, there is a possibility of rhabdomyolysis treatment. Treatment includes use of intravenous fluid, dialysis as well as hemofiltration in severe cases.
Myotonia is a condition where the muscles relax slowly after contraction and stimulation. The symptoms of myotonia include trouble while releasing a grip, walking and difficulty in getting up
after sitting or sleeping. Medications, anticonvulsants and physical therapy are involved in treatment of myotonia.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic muscle pain disorder
. It is characterized by aches, pain and burning sensation around sensitive points of the muscles called the trigger points. One may also feel joint stiffness, area of tension like a knot and sleep problems due to severe pain. Corticosteroids, botulism toxin injections, massage therapy and physiotherapy help in management of myofascial pain syndrome.
These were some of the diseases of the muscular system
. These diseases can cause many debilitating conditions that reduce productivity and limit mobility. It is important to seek early medical help
from an orthopaedic
to control the diseases before the progress.