Atrophy — it’s the word used by medical professionals to refer to loss of muscle mass and also strength. You can think of it as the complete opposite of building muscles. Needless to say, for those who like to stay in shape loss of muscle is terrible news.
This article will get you acquainted with some of the most common causes of muscle loss, ranging anywhere from neurological diseases, malnutrition, lack of physical activity to prolonged exercise — yes, that is one of the many causes!
Too Much Exercise
Let’s get this part done and over with: engaging in prolonged cardio can in fact cause muscles to breakdown, fitness experts say.
Especially if you are not consuming enough carbohydrates and protein and you like exercising for 60 to 90 minutes each time, you are risking losing precious muscle mass, which is something that will not only make you weaker but also cause your metabolism to run at a much slower rate.
You need carbohydrates and protein in order to gain muscle mass and also keep your muscles intact. This is why failure to have a well-balanced diet can easily lead to muscle loss.
Are you a vegetarian? Then see to it that you include in your everyday diet plenty of plant-based protein to make sure that your muscles are being supplied with enough protein since you are not consuming meat which is an excellent source of the muscle-building nutrient.
Sadly, there is one very common cause of loss of muscle mass that you cannot avoid or alter, and that’s the normal process of aging.
As people age, some of their muscles are naturally replaced with fat. Also, the fact that older people tend to have a sedentary lifestyle contributes to further muscle loss. Engaging in weight-training exercises can help keep loss of muscle mass due to aging to a minimum.
Lack of Physical Activity
Speaking of leading a sedentary lifestyle, one of the reasons for muscle loss is not using the muscles enough. Needless to say, leading a more active lifestyle is one of the secrets to keep your muscles intact.
In some instances, being inactive physically is due to certain circumstances. For instance being sick or having a health-related concern that requires prolonged bed rest or hospital admission in order for the individual to recover can contribute to loss of muscle mass.
It’s no secret that medications can cause all kinds of side effects. Did you know that there are some of them that can cause your muscles to weaken and also decrease in mass?
Some examples of medications that can lead to muscle weakness and loss are those for stomach issues, cardiovascular system, inflammation and cancer. Some antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and even recreational drugs are also known to cause muscle mass.
Earlier, it was mentioned that not using the muscles on a regular basis can cause them not only to weaken but also shrink. This is why having a neurological disease can cause a person to lose muscle mass.
Neuropathy, stroke, cerebral palsy — these are just a few examples of neurological issues that can cause a person to unable to use his or her muscles properly, enough or at all.
Do you know the reason why people who are battling cancer tend to lose a lot weight? It’s for the fact that cancerous growths use lots and lots of energy as they grow in size and attempt spread to adjacent areas and the rest of the body.
Since cancer requires lots of energy, it’s not unlikely for the muscles to get broken down to be used as fuel for its evil deeds. Actually, there’s a medical term for muscle loss due to cancer, and that’s cancer cachexia.