My opening question for this discussion is also for the Dr. I have a friend who was Dx'd two years after I did with MS. She is in her late sixties or early seventies and she goes to the gym on a near daily basis. Even with her regular workout schedule, she has noticed that she is losing muscle tone (aka, mass). Can MS cause this? Has anyone else out there experienced the same thing? Am eager for your responses. Thanks
There is a two-fold answer to the question of whether MS can cause the muscle to waste away. The simple answer would be no, MS does not destroy muscle tissue. It causes nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord, but does not attack peripheral soft tissues.
Over time, however, a thigh or calf muscle that has grown spastic or paralyzed because of spinal cord damage can begin to waste at some point. If a muscle has not received the proper signals from the brain and spinal cord for a long time, it can forget its function and start to diminish. I myself have some mild muscle-wasting in the heel of my left hand, and that hand is the more severely nerve-damaged of the two.
However, in the case of your friend who is in her senior years, the loss of muscle tissue is also a natural consequence of the aging process. We all lose muscle mass as we grow older, one cause being the decline of hormone production.
Exercise is a wonderful way to counteract that muscle tissue loss as we age. It won't stop the breakdown of tissue loss, but it will help slow it down and keep osteoporosis in check as well.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
The opinions expressed in WebMD Communities are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Communities are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.
Do not consider Communities as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.