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The human body contains more than 650 individual muscles which are attached to the

skeleton, which provides the pulling power for us to move around. The main job of the
muscular system is to provide movement for the body. The muscular system consist of
three different types of muscle tissues : skeletal, cardiac, smooth. Each of these different
tissues has the ability to contract, which then allows body movements and functions.
There are two types of muscles in the system and they are the involuntary muscles, and
the voluntary muscles. The muscle in which we are allow to control by ourselves are
called the voluntary muscles and the ones we can? control are the involuntary muscles.
The heart, or the cardiac muscle, is an example of involuntary muscle.


The cardiac muscles is the muscle of the heart itself. The cardiac muscle is the tissue that
makes up the wall of the heart called the mydocardium. Also like the skeletal muscles,
the cardiac muscle is striated and contracts through the sliding filament method. However
it is different from other types of muscles because it forms branching fibers. Unlike the
skeletal muscles, the cardiac muscle is attached together instead of been attach to a bone.


The skeletal muscle makes up about 40 % of an adults body weight. It has stripe-like
markings, or striations. The skeletal muscles is composed of long muscle fibers. Each of
these muscles fiber is a cell which contains several nuclei. The nervous system controls
the contraction of the muscle. Many of the skeletal muscle contractions are automatic.
However we still can control the action of the skeletal muscle. And it is because of this
reason that the skeletal muscle is also called voluntary muscle.


Much of our internal organs is made up of smooth muscles. They are found in the urinary
bladder, gallbladder, arteries, and veins. Also the digestive tract is made up of smooth
muscle as well. The smooth muscles are controlled by the nervous system and hormones.
We cannot consciously control the smooth muscle that is why they are often called
involuntary muscles.

Muscular System

Navigation links

• Introduction
• Cardiac muscle
• Smooth muscle
• Skeletal muscle
• Muscle fibers and exercise


Over 600 skeletal muscles function for body movement through contraction and relaxation of
voluntary, striated muscle fibers. These muscles are attached to bones, and are typically under
conscious control for locomotion, facial expressions, posture, and other body movements.
Muscles account for approximately 40 percent of body weight. The metabolism that occurs in this
large mass-produces heat essential for the maintenance of body temperature.

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Cardiac muscle

Cardiac muscle is only in the heart and makes up the atria and ventricles (heart walls). Like
skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle contains striated fibers. Cardiac muscle is called involuntary
muscle because conscious thought does not control its contractions. Specialized cardiac muscle
cells maintain a consistent heart rate.

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Smooth muscle

Smooth muscle is throughout the body, including in visceral (internal) organs, blood vessels, and
glands. Like cardiac muscle, smooth muscle is involuntary. Unlike skeletal and cardiac muscle,
smooth muscle is nonstriated (not banded). Smooth muscle, which is extensively within the walls
of digestive tract organs, causes peristalsis (wave-like contractions) that aids in food digestion
and transport.

Except the heart, any action that the body performs without conscious thought is done by smooth
muscle contractions. This includes diverse activities such as constricting (closing) the bronchioles
(air passages) of the lungs or pupils of the eye or causing goosebumps in cold conditions.

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Skeletal muscle

A skeletal muscle has regular, ordered groups of fascicles, muscle fibers, myofibrils, and
myofilaments. Epimysium (thick connective tissue) binds groups of fascicles together. A fascicle
has muscle fibers; perimysium (connective tissue) envelops the fascicle. Endomysium
(connective tissue) surrounds the muscle fibers.

A muscle fiber divides into even smaller parts. Within each fiber are strands of myofibrils. These
long cylindrical structures appear striped due to strands of tiny myofilaments. Myofilaments have
two types of protein: actin (thin myofilaments) and myosin (thick myofilaments).
The actin and myosin myofilaments align evenly, producing dark and light bands on the myofibril.
Each dark band depicts an area where the myofilaments overlap, causing the striated
appearance of skeletal muscle.

All dark and light bands of the myofilaments have names. At the Z-line, actin strands interweave.
The region between two Z-lines is a sarcomere, the functional unit of skeletal muscle. Muscle
contraction occurs when overlapping actin and myosin myofilaments overlap further and shorten
the muscle cell. The myofilaments keep their length. The overlapping of myofilaments is the basis
for the sliding filament theory of contraction.

Skeletal muscle is a system of pairs that relax and contract to move a joint. For example, when
front leg muscles contract, the knee extends (straightens) while back leg muscles relax.
Conversely, to flex (bend) the knee, back leg muscles contract while front leg muscles relax.
Some muscles are named for their ability to extend or flex a joint; for example, extensor
carpiradialis longus muscle and flexor digitorum brevis muscle.
Tendons attach most skeletal muscles to bones. Tendons are strong sheets of connective tissue
that are identical with ligaments. Tendons and ligaments differ in function only: tendons attach
muscle to bone and ligaments attach bone to bone. Physical exercise strengthens the attachment
of tendons to bones.

Skeletal muscles have muscle tone (remain partly contracted), which helps maintain body
posture. Ongoing signals from the nervous system to the muscle cells help maintain tone and
readiness for physical activity.

Skeletal muscle aids in heat generation. During muscle contractions, muscle cells expend much
energy, most of which is converted to heat. To prevent overheating, glands in the skin produce
sweat to cool the skin; and, the body radiates heat from the blood and tissues through the skin.
When the body is chilly, shivering causes quick muscle contractions that generate heat.

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Muscle fibers and exercise

Skeletal muscles have two types of muscle fibers: fast-twitch and slow-twitch. Anaerobic exercise
uses fast-twitch fibers. Such exercise includes activities that are fleeting and require brief high-
energy expenditure. Weightlifting, sprinting, and push-ups are examples of anaerobic exercise.
Because all cells require oxygen to produce energy, anaerobic exercise depletes oxygen
reserves in the muscle cells quickly. The result is an oxygen debt. To repay the debt, humans
breathe deeply and rapidly, which restores the oxygen level. Anaerobic exercise creates excess
lactic acid (a waste product). By increasing oxygen intake, the liver cells can convert the excess
lactic acid into glucose, the primary food molecule used in cellular metabolism.
Aerobic exercise uses slow-twitch muscle fibers. Such exercise includes activities that are
prolonged and require constant energy. Long distance running and cycling are examples of
aerobic exercise. In aerobic exercise, the muscle cell requires the same amount of oxygen that
the body supplies. The oxygen debt is slashed and lactic acid is not formed.

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Topics in bone, joint, and

Muscle diseases muscle disorders
Myopathy Bone diseases
Myopathies are diseases of skeletal muscle which areBone tumors
not caused by nerve disorders. These diseases Bone cancer
cause the skeletal or voluntary muscles to become
Muscle diseases
weak or wasted. Myopathies are usually
degenerative, but they are sometimes caused by Spine (neck and back) disorders
drug side effects, chemical poisoning, or a chronic Dupuytren's contracture
disorder of the immune system. Costochondritis
Chronic fatigue syndrome Plantar fasciitis
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness Arthritis
characterized by prolonged, debilitating fatigue Osteoarthritis
and multiple nonspecific symptoms such as Rheumatoid arthritis
headaches, recurrent sore throats, muscle and joint Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
pains, memory and concentration difficulties. Septic arthritis (infectious Arthritis)
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating and Psoriatic arthritis
complex disorder characterized by profound
Reiter's syndrome (reactive
fatigue of six months. arthritis)
Ankylosing spondylitis
Fibromyalgia Gout (gouty arthritis)
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic illness Tendinitis
characterized by diffuse pain, fatigue, and a wide Osteoporosis
range of other symptoms. It is a syndrome, not a Whiplash
disease. It is not contagious, and is probably Fibromyalgia
genetic. It affects more women than men, mostly
between ages 20 and 50. It is seen in 3-10% of the
general population.

Muscular dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a broad term that
describes a genetic (inherited) disorder of the
muscles. Muscular dystrophy causes the muscles in
the body to become very weak. The muscles break
down and are replaced with fatty deposits over
time. Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that
is characterized by muscle wasting and weakening.

Dermatomyositis is one of a group of
inflammatory muscle diseases. It is a subtype of
inflammatory muscle disease. Dermatomyositis
may affect people of any race, age or sex, although
it is twice as common in women than in men.
Dermatomyositis belongs to a group of conditions
called inflammatory myopathies.

Polymyositis is a systemic connective tissue disorder
characterized by inflammatory and degenerative
changes in the muscles, leading to symmetric
weakness and some degree of muscle atrophy.
Polymyositis is slightly more common in females.
It affects all age groups, although its onset is most
common in middle childhood and in the twenties.

Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers
resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents
into the circulation. Some of these are toxic to the
kidney and frequenty result in kidney damage.
Many clinical features of rhabdomyolysis are
nonspecific, and the course of the syndrome varies
depending on the underlying condition.

Compartment syndrome
Compartment syndrome involves the compression
of nerves and blood vessels within an enclosed
space. Compartment syndrome is a condition in
which there is swelling and an increase in pressure
within a limited space (a compartment) that presses
on and compromises blood vessels, nerves, and/or
tendons that run through that compartment.

Neuromuscular disease is a very broad term that encompasses many diseases and
ailments that either directly, via intrinsic muscle pathology, or indirectly, via nerve
pathology, impair the functioning of the muscles.

Neuromuscular diseases are those that affect the muscles and/or their nervous control. In
general, problems with nervous control can cause either spasticity or some degree of
paralysis, depending on the location and the nature of the problem. A large proportion of
neurological disorders leads to problems with movement. Some examples of these
disorders include cerebrovascular accident (stroke), Parkinson's disease, multiple
sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Huntington's disease (Huntington's chorea), and the
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.


• 1 Symptoms and testing

• 2 Causes, including autoimmune diseases and poisoning
• 3 Inflammatory muscle disorders
• 4 Tumors
• 5 See also

• 6 References

[edit] Symptoms and testing

Symptoms of muscle disease may include muscular weakness, spasticity/rigidity, loss of

muscular control, myoclonus (twitching, spasming), and myalgia (muscle pain).
Diagnostic procedures that may reveal muscular disorders include direct clinical
observations (above all), the testing of various chemical and antigen levels in the blood,
and electromyography (measuring electrical activity in muscles). Diagnostic imaging
may be helpful in certain cases, such as those caused by strokes or tumors.

[edit] Causes, including autoimmune diseases and poisoning

Neuromuscular disease can be caused by circulatory problems (strokes, etc.),

immunological and autoimmune disorders, the failure of the electrical insulation
surrounding nerves myelin, genetic/hereditary disorders, such as Huntington's disease,
certain rare tumors, the failure of the connections between the nerves and the muscle
fibers, exposure to pernicious environmental chemicals, poisoning - including heavy-
metal poisoning, and importantly, unknown causes. The failure of the electrical insulation
surrounding nerves, the myelin, is seen in certain deficiency diseases, such as the failure
of the body's system for absorbing vitamin B-12, and also the failure of the myelin is seen
in multiple sclerosis and some other neurological diseases, especially in autoimmune
diseases that are thought to attack the myelin.

Some neuromuscular diseases are hypothesized to be caused either by viral infections or

by attack by little-known pernicious proteins called prions.

Diseases of the motor end plate include myasthenia gravis, a form of muscle weakness
due to antibodies to the acetylcholine receptor, and its related condition Lambert-Eaton
myasthenic syndrome (LEMS). Tetanus and botulism are bacterial infections in which
bacterial toxins cause increased or decreased muscle tone, respectively.

The myopathies are all diseases affecting the muscle itself, rather than its nervous control

Muscular dystrophy is a large group of diseases, many of them hereditary or resulting

from genetic errors, where the muscle integrity is disrupted. They lead to progressive loss
of strength, high dependence and decreased life span.

[edit] Inflammatory muscle disorders

• Polymyalgia rheumatica (or "muscle rheumatism") is an inflammatory condition

that mainly occurs in the elderly; it is associated with giant-cell arteritis. It often
responds dramatically to glucocorticoids (e.g. prednisolone).
• Polymyositis, dermatomyositis and inclusion body myositis are autoimmune
conditions in which the muscle is affected.
• Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscular tissue due to any cause. While it
may not lead to any muscular symptoms at all, the myoglobin thus released may
cause acute renal failure.

[edit] Tumors

Tumors of muscle are of the soft tissue sarcoma group and include:
• Smooth muscle: leiomyoma (benign, very common in the uterus),
leiomyosarcoma (malignant, very rare)
• Striated muscle: rhabdomyoma (benign) and rhabdomyosarcoma (malignant) -
both very rare
• Metastasis from elsewhere (e.g. lung cancer)

Smooth muscle has been implicated to play a role in a large number of diseases affecting
blood vessels, the respiratory tract (e.g., asthma), the digestive system (e.g. irritable
bowel syndrome) and the urinary tract (e.g., urinary incontinence). These disease
processes are not usually confined to the muscular tissue. In general, muscle tumors are
rare, since muscle cells are not constantly dividing cells.

Tumors of the thymus gland are implicated in some cases of myasthenia gravis and other
neuromuscular diseases.

Tumors of the peripheral nervous system are known, but rare, because nerve cells are not
ones that divide very much under normal circumstances.