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Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss Due to Aging)

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What is Sarcopenia

From the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger.

But at some point in your 30s, you start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging.

In other word, Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass due to the natural aging process.

This decrease in muscle leads to a reduction in a person’s strength. As a result, their balance and gait are also affected.

Sarcopenia can have an impact on a person’s ability to perform everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, lifting objects, and walking.

While it can decrease life expectancy and quality of life, there are actions you can take to prevent and even reverse the condition.

Causes

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), the loss of muscle tissue may progress more rapidly when a person reaches their 60s and 70s.

Although the exact rate of decline varies, a person may lose 3 to 8 percent of muscle mass per decade.

The loss of muscle mass involves both a reduction in the number of muscle fibers and a decrease in their size. The combination of fewer and smaller muscle fibers causes the muscles to atrophy or shrink.

Recent study has shown, the loss of muscle mass involves both a reduction in the number of muscle fibers and a decrease in their size.

The combination of fewer and smaller muscle fibers causes the muscles to atrophy or shrink (read more).

As a person ages, certain changes take place in the body that play a role in the development of sarcopenia.

For example, as a person gets older, their body’s ability to produce the proteins that the muscles need to grow decreases. When protein production falls, individual muscle cells get smaller.

Age-related hormonal changes may also lead to a decrease in muscle mass. Typically, levels of testosterone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) affect muscle growth and muscle mass.

The decline in hormone levels may be a contributing factor to the loss of muscle mass.

Risk Factors

As we know Aging is the main cause of sarcopenia, other factors contribute to the loss of muscle mass which are included, Sedentary lifestyle and Poor nutrition.

  • Sedentary lifestyle / Immobility: Getting little or no physical activity on a regular basis puts people at an increased risk of developing sarcopenia as they age.
  • Poor nutrition: Poor dietary habits can also contribute to the development of sarcopenia. Although poor nutrition is possible at any age, it may affect how fast muscle mass declines in older adults.
  • Malnutrition: There are no published data demonstrating the co-occurrence of malnutrition and sarcopenia in older adults.
  • However, research has shown that reductions in handgrip strength are common in individuals who have sarcopenia as well as in individuals who are malnourished.
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  • According to IOF, up to 41 percent of women and 38 percent of men over the age of 50 eat less protein than the recommended daily allowance.

  • Sign & Symptoms

  • The signs of sarcopenia are the result of diminished muscle strength. However, the symptoms may vary depending on how much muscle mass a person has lost.

  • Early signs of sarcopenia include feeling physically weaker over time, and having more difficulty than usual lifting familiar objects.

Symptoms include:

- A decrease in muscle size

- Overal Weakness

- Loss of endurance

- Poor balance

  • - Trouble climbing stairs
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  • Diagnosis:

  • A hand-grip-strength test has been used to help diagnose sarcopenia in studies, and may be used in some clinics.
  • Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) and a walking speed test to make a diagnosis.
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  • DXA usually measures bone density and tests for osteoporosis. When used in combination with walking speed tests, it may be helpful in diagnosing sarcopenia.
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Treatment:

there are no medications approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat sarcopenia. However, some research is investigating the use of hormone therapy to increase lean muscle mass.

  • Exercise:

  • When it comes to muscle mass, the old saying “use it or lose it” is true. Working the muscles helps maintain muscle mass and strength. When muscles are not used, they shrink.

    Strength training or resistance training can improve muscle size, strength, and tone. It can also strengthen bones, ligaments, and tendons, which is good for a person’s overall health.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults should participate in muscle-strengthening activities a minimum of 2 days a week (Read more).

  • Strength Training

  • Strength training involves using resistance to cause muscle contraction. The muscle contraction builds muscle size and increases strength.

    Your training may involve using weights, resistance bands, or exercise machines. A person’s own body weight can also be used for resistance, however not for a long time.

    It can be beneficial to work with an exercise coach to develop a strength training program that is customised and effective and safe for individual.

  • Nutrition and Sarcopenia:

  • Proper nutrition is essential to treat sarcopenia, and may even prevent or delay the condition. Eating enough protein is an important dietary consideration in preventing sarcopenia.
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  • The IOF recommend that adults eat 1.0, 1.3, and 1.6 g protein per kg body weight per day is recommended for individuals with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity, respectively.
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Supplement and Sarcopenia

Taking certain dietary supplements such as:  Creatine supplements, and Vitamin D may help increase strength and lean muscle mass in adults of any age.

 

Our Approach

Dublin Sports Injury Clinic is a physical therapy clinic based in Pearse Street, Dublin 2. We have a holistic approach to our assessment and treatment. The initial assessment helps us to explore the cause of your injury and help you to get pain free shortly and stop any further injuries. We will design a customized training program for you to start with, and we will coach you and monitor your progress closely. We will prescribe relative rest or modified activities as required. Depending on the individual requirement, we apply manual therapy accompanied by stretching to restore tissue elasticity and reduce the strain in the muscle-tendon unit with joint motion.

Next step 

Want to get in touch with our team of a therapist or you are looking for some advice? Simply fill in your details below & we get in touch with you shortly.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. You can contact us if you would like to book an appointment or get some advice from our therapist.

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