What is Sarcopenia?
Sarcopenia is an age-related, involuntary loss of muscle mass and strength. This includes loss in both the functional capacity and the protein mass of muscles. The effects of Sarcopenia begin to be seen after the age of 40-50 years and evidently so after 60.
Loss of skeletal muscle mass is one of the earliest signs of aging. An average human gains maximum muscle mass up until the age of 40 years, after which there is a progressive decrease in muscle mass. Not only is the muscle mass affected with aging, but also its strength, functional capacity and even the chemical composition changes. All these changes ultimately lead to decreased resilience and frailty pursues.
What are the symptoms of Sarcopenia?
- Weight loss
- Decreased resilience and stamina
- Suboptimal physical activity
What are the causes of Sarcopenia?
With aging, a lot of changes occur in the body, both hormonal and neurological. For example, Vitamin D level falls with age and has an association with decreased muscle mass. Various changes accompanied by lack of physical activity and the presence of chronic health conditions lead to degeneration of muscle. Other factors like nutrition also play a major role in the development of sarcopenia.
What are the risk factors for Sarcopenia?
- Lack of physical activity
- Lack of nutritious, protein-rich diet
- Age-related changes in hormones
- Associated medical conditions like chronic lung diseases, heart disease, cancer, etc.
- Genetic influence
How is Sarcopenia diagnosed?
- Measurement of muscle mass.
- Measurement of gait speed (walking speed)
- Measurement of muscle strength (Ex: grip strength)
Advanced sarcopenia includes a loss in all three factors mentioned above.
How to prevent Sarcopenia?
- Exercise: Since lack of physical activity is the most contributory factor to sarcopenia, exercising positively boosts muscle health and delays the loss of muscle mass.
- Nutrition: Protein intake should be increased.
- Medication: no specific medicines for the condition is available. Although, supplements like Vitamin D can be taken. Hormonal supplements are also available, but they come along with several side effects and aren’t approved.
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