What is Sarcopenia?
It is a condition of age-associated loss of muscle mass, strength, and function in older adults (50+yrs) compared to individuals with normal muscle strength. It continues linearly and can go up to 50% muscle mass loss by the 8th decade of life.
1. Physical inactivity & sedentary lifestyle: Physical inactivity leads to loss of muscle mass and function by3% to 5% each decade after age 30.
2. Poor nutrition: Poor dietary habits can also contribute to the development of the condition.
3. Severe stress: Persons suffering from mental stress, anxiety, suicide and depression
4. Co-morbidities: health conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases may also increase the risk.
What are the symptoms:
1. Decrease in muscle mass/volume
2. Poor muscle strength
3. Loss of endurance & pain
4. Poor body balance
5. Proneness to falls, fractures.
What to do then?[2,4]
Exercise: Remain active to maintain muscle mass and strength. Specifically, resistance training or strength training is effective.
Nutrition: Protein is essential for muscle protein synthesis. Vegetarians must consume more soya & pulses like dal and beans.
Dietary supplements: Taking certain nutritional supplements may be another way to improve faster recovery.
Bottom line: On World Senior Citizen Day, let us encourage all to exercise & synergistically take a balanced diet to avoid Sarcopenia.