Muscles power health inEssential ways
how muscles work
Muscle function is essential to life. It is necessary for both voluntary movements (such as walking, eating, dressing, or speaking) and involuntary movements (such as the pumping functions of your heart or respiratory functions of your lungs). There are three types of muscle: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth, and when muscle function is impaired, critical organs may be affected and quality of life may meaningfully decline.
An impaired diaphragm—the skeletal muscle that supports the movement of air by the lungs—can result in difficulty breathing and eventually respiratory failure.1 If cardiac muscle in the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain proper blood flow throughout the body, a patient may suffer from fluid overload, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue.2 Many diseases—such as ALS and heart failure—that affect muscle function result in muscle weakness either through diminished signaling between nerves and muscle or through other mechanisms, and this leads to limited performance of vital muscle systems. Increasing muscle function may alleviate the impact of these diseases, and may also improve a person’s prognosis and quality of life.
- Heart Failure | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Nhlbi.nih.gov. 2019. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-failure. Accessed March 22, 2019.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Fact Sheet | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Ninds.nih.gov. 2019. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Amyotrophic-Lateral-Sclerosis-ALS-Fact-Sheet. Accessed March 22, 2019.