Atrophy is commonly caused by the lack of use; such as when a limb (arm, hand, etc.) has been immobilized in a plaster cast or by inadequate cell nutrition because of poor blood circulation.
Physicians are aware that atrophy may also take place during a prolonged serious illness, when the body needs to use up the protein reserves in the muscles.
Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.
Simon significantly atrophied during his bedridden illness.
Many elderly people have "sarcopenia", when the muscles are atrophying, because either they don't exercise at all or not adequately. People are never too old to exercise!2. The degeneration, decline, or decrease, because of the lack of using something: Dr. Hughes, the professor, argued that freedom and independence of thought were progressively atrophying because too many people were simply ignoring their political rights.