Problems with the muscular system can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, fatigue, and mobility issues. There are three basic types of muscles within the body, known as smooth muscles, skeletal muscles, and cardiac muscles, each of which are vulnerable to disease processes that cause problems with the muscular system. Some of the specific medical conditions that affect the muscles include fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy, and polymyositis. These conditions often affect each of the three muscle types. A doctor should be consulted with any specific questions concerning problems with the muscular system.
Smooth muscles are controlled by the nervous system and are found in the digestive tract, blood vessels, and bladder. Skeletal muscles are attached directly to the bones of the skeleton by connective tissue known as tendons. Cardiac muscles are found in the heart and assist with pumping blood throughout the body. Disease processes that affect any of these muscle types can cause mild to severe problems with the muscular system.
Fibromyalgia is among the most common problems with the muscular system. This medical condition causes muscle pain throughout the body, often due to uncontrollable muscle spasms and inflammation. Additional symptoms often include insomnia, extreme levels of fatigue, and a variety of mood disorders. The exact causes of fibromyalgia are not clearly understood, although physical or emotional trauma, certain infections, and genetic factors are thought to be involved. Treatment for fibromyalgia often includes a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Muscular dystrophy is a genetic condition that is characterized by the absence of certain proteins that are necessary for building healthy muscles. This is a progressive disease that can cause an affected person to slowly lose the ability to perform basic tasks such as walking, dressing, or bathing. Visual disturbances, speech problems, and cognitive difficulties may also be present among those with this disorder. Supportive devices such as wheelchairs are frequently used along with physical therapy to treat muscular dystrophy.
Polymyositis causes the skeletal muscles to become weakened, gradually leading to loss of mobility. The skin on the hands often becomes thickened, although this symptom is not always present. Additional symptoms of polymyositis may include difficulty swallowing, irregular heartbeat, and arthritis. There are several factors that are thought to contribute to the development of this disorder, including genetic predisposition, viral infections, and autoimmune dysfunction. Steroid medications are usually prescribed to treat the symptoms of polymyositis, and some people with this condition may benefit from an individualized exercise program or physical therapy.