Degenerative disorders

The degenerative disorders -  A term covering a wide range of conditions in which there is progressive impairment in the structure and function of a body system, organ, or tissue.

The number of specialized cells or structures in the organ affected is usually reduced, and cells are replaced by connective tissue or scar tissue. In many cases, the cause of the disease is poorly understood, but degenerative disorders are the subjects of intensive research.

Degenerative nervous system disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, motor neuron disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Degenerative disorders of the eye include Leber’s optic atrophy and senile macular degeneration. Degenerative disorders of the joints include osteoarthritis. Muscle degeneration occurs in muscular dystrophies.

Some degree of hardening of the arteries seems to be a feature of normal aging, but in certain people degenerative changes in the muscle coat of the arteries are unusually severe, and calcium deposits may be seen on X-rays (as in Monckeberg’s sclerosis, a type of arteriosclerosis).

In most cases, there is little that can be done to slow the progress of the disease, but it is often possible to relieve symptoms with drug treatment (for example, in Parkinson’s disease).


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