What Is Sarcopenia?
Muscles can become weak when we don’t use them. On top of that the body loses muscle mass as it ages. This condition is called sarcopenia.
It sounds ominous but sarcopenia simply refers to the muscle loss that comes with age. This muscle loss is also accompanied by a loss of strength and function in these muscle groups. And, sarcopenia affects all of us whether we are physically active or not. You may have a better chance of fighting this age-related muscle loss if you are active, but the condition is a result of more than one factor.
Many are aware of the threat of osteoporosis as we age. It mostly affects women, but it is a condition that results in brittle bones. When an inadequate level of calcium is consumed, the body robs the bones for what it needs. Loss of bone may lead to a number of conditions, not the least of which is more broken bones from falls.
Like osteoporosis, sarcopenia is thought to be a condition that arises from a variety of sources. Other changes occur in the body as we age as well. The amount of necessary nutrients we consume is less. For seniors, it can be due to lack of appetite or lack of funds to buy the proper food. Hormone levels also change with age. For women, that means a reduction in certain hormones after menopause.
Along with all of this, the body is bombarded with free radicals that cause oxidative stress within the body. These free radicals come from the environmental, chemical and physical sources.
So, there is not just one cause of sarcopenia. To increase the chances of staving off this condition, here are a few suggestions.
* Increase protein intake. Usually, it is not a problem for most people to consume an adequate level of protein. However, for seniors, less protein is consumed when actually they require more than the average teenager. Being less physically active may contribute to the lack of adequate protein intake. This protein deficiency leads to an insufficient amount to build lean muscle mass and support what muscle you already have. A form of acidosis can also develop from low daily protein intake.
* Hormones levels are important to muscle mass. For both men and women, hormone levels decrease as you age. This decrease affects the growth of muscle. It is helpful to have an annual physical where your blood is tested for hormone levels. Hormone replacement therapy can return your hormone levels to optimum to help fight sarcopenia.
* Eat a variety of foods. Not only is protein needed, but also the vitamins and minerals that are obtained from different types of foods. They drive the functions in the body including muscle growth.
* Exercise as often as you can. Movement contributes to joint and muscle health. Include strength training a couple of days a week to help build muscle tissue.
Sarcopenia is a condition that results from many factors. It affects the muscle mass you maintain as you age. If you are over forty, use the suggestions above to help keep sarcopenia from being a factor in your health.