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Paralysis is the temporary or permanent loss of muscle, nerve and skeletal control in certain areas of the body due to spinal injury, stroke or other debilitating conditions. Individuals who are rendered paraplegic (paralysed from the waist down) and quadriplegic (paralysed from neck down) are at a high risk for moderate to severe muscle wasting. Muscle deterioration occurs as a result of being wheelchair and/or bed bound with no ability to move one's own appendages. The deterioration is usually most severe in the arms and legs, as paralysed individuals are unable to exercise these limbs without the aid of another individual. The effects of muscle wasting can be slowed by diligent physiotherapy by professionals and trained family members.
Muscular Dystrophy (or MS) is a group of genetic diseases which may have catastrophic effects on body's musculature systems beginning from early childhood and lasting through the entirety of adulthood. There are over two dozen forms of MS, with all of them having specific features and age onsets particular to each one. Common symptoms include increasingly weakened muscles, muscle spasms, respiratory issues and heart problems. Although there is not yet a cure for MS, combinations of drug therapy, orthopaedic surgery and physiotherapy are a few of the methods used to help slow the wasting and degeneration of affected muscles.
Extended Bed Rest
Extended bed rest as a result of coma, high risk pregnancy or other long-term incapacitating illness is a top cause of muscle waste and deterioration. In mobile humans, muscles begin to waste away due to lack of exercise and protein intake. Being restricted to lying for long periods of time (more than two weeks) without walking, lifting or flexing your arms and legs can result in the same type of muscular wasting (atrophy) paraplegics and quadriplegics suffer from. However, if the bed rest is not permanent one should be sure to consult with a doctor for recommendations on safe exercise plans structured to help regain and maintain lost muscle mass.
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