We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Progressive Muscular Atrophy?

By Donn Saylor
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Progressive muscular atrophy is a rare condition characterized by the deterioration of the lower motor nerve cells. It is most often associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, and motor neuron disease (MND). Progressive muscular atrophy is an active, advancing disease, though its progression is typically slow and is distinguished by the gradual wasting away of muscles in the extremities, which slowly extends to other areas of the body.

From a pathological perspective, progressive muscular atrophy takes hold when ganglionic cells — nerve cells within a mass of tissue — begin to deteriorate. Muscles gradually shrink and turn pale as use becomes more and more limited until it is impossible to utilize the muscles at all. Because of its slow wearing-away of the muscular system, the disease is sometimes known as wasting palsy.

Research suggests that there may be two subtypes of progressive muscular atrophy. In the first type, distribution of the disease is random throughout the body, making it difficult to detect. The second type progresses differently. The disease will affect one extremity before entering into a long latent period and then spreading to another extremity.

ALS and other forms of MND are the primary conditions that cause progressive muscular atrophy. It has been shown to have strong hereditary roots and has also developed as the result of physical injury, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, and extreme muscular exertion. The condition may also be caused by various types of infection, including influenza, diphtheria, measles, and typhoid fever.

Progressive muscular atrophy, or PMA, is predominantly an adult disease. The average age range of PMA patients is between 30 and 50 years old. Studies have shown that the condition strikes males at a much higher rate than females.

The primary symptom of PMA is the notable weakening of a muscle or muscles. This often occurs first in the hand. The thumb muscles may atrophy, followed by the other fingers until the hand takes on a claw-like appearance and is rendered virtually unusable. From the hand, PMA works its way up the arm and into the shoulder. These muscles also begin to waste away before the disease works its path through the rest of the body; it usually affects the right hand before the left.

The lower extremities may become affected first, though by and large, they are the last areas to be impacted by PMA. In its late stages, the condition will take hold of the muscles in the lower part of the body. When it hits the diaphragm, breathing becomes difficult, if not impossible, for the patient.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.