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Parkinson's Disease

PD and muscle atrophy

08/19/2008

Question:

6 years ago my father was diagnosed with PD. His main problem was tremor in his rigth hand. He has been on medicine ever since. In the last few month he has lost his muscles strength and his muscles troughout the body has shrink to vanishing point. He has physical therapy twice a week but even his physical therapist complains of fast devoloping muscle atrophy. So I want to ask if it is normal for a person with PD to experience fast devoloping muscle atrophy?

Answer:

Typically, idiopathic Parkinson's disease itself does not cause muscle atrophy. However, loss of muscle can occur if there is less use of a certain muscle (disuse atrophy). Another consideration would be a possible underlying metabolic/nutritional disease, or an underlying muscle disorder. I suggest you have your father discuss this issue further with his doctor.

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Response by:

Punit  Agrawal, DO Punit Agrawal, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University