what is sarcopenia

What It Sarcopenia- Signs, Causes And How to Prevent It

August 7, 2020

What is sarcopenia? It is a condition characterized by muscle loss and is common in about ten percent of seniors above fifty years. It is believed, that having regular exercise and a healthy diet plan can reverse the effects of sarcopenia. Normally, as people approach their middle age, they lose an average of three percent muscle strength annually. This loss limits their routine activities and unfortunately, shortens their life expectancy compared to those unaffected. Sarcopenia is brought about by the imbalance of signals released for muscle tear down and cell growth. The process of cell growth is referred to as “anabolism” while the teardown processes are referred to as “catabolism.” During the aging period, your body resists the regular growth signals and moves the balances more towards catabolism encouraging muscle loss.

Factors That Improves Muscle Loss

While the most popular reason why sarcopenia occurs is aging, other factors may trigger the imbalance of muscle catabolism and anabolism.

1. A sedentary lifestyle: Muscle disuse is a very strong factor that can trigger sarcopenia causing muscle weakness and muscle loss. Immobilization or bed rest after an illness or injury causes rapid muscle loss.

Three to four weeks of less walking and routine activities are enough to reduce muscle strength and mass. Periods of reduced physical activity can easily become a cycle. It decreases muscle strength, causes chronic fatigue, and makes it more difficult to get back to your normal activity.

2. Unbalanced diet: any diet that provides insufficient protein and calories results in reduced muscle mass and weight loss. Unfortunately, low protein and low-calorie diets are common with aging as a result of changes in taste senses, problems with gums, teeth, and swallowing. It may also be increased due to difficulty in cooking and shopping.

Scientists in an attempt to prevent sarcopenia have res=commended that people consume twenty-five to thirty grams of protein during each meal.

3. Inflammation: After an illness or injury, signals are sent by the inflammation to your body for it to destroy and rebuild damaged cells. Long term or chronic disease can lead to inflammation, which disrupts your body’s normal balance of tearing down and healing that may lead to muscle loss.

A study was done on patients with inflammation (long term) which was caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it was found out that the patients experienced reduced muscle mass. Some other diseases that may cause long-termed inflammation are Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, tuberculosis, severe burns, lupus vasculitis,

4. Severe stress: Sarcopenia can develop from other health issues that increase the stress level of the body. An example is people suffering from the chronic disease of the liver and about twenty percent of people with chronic failure of the heart, this category of people may experience sarcopenia.

In the chronic disease of the kidney, decreased activity, and increased body stress result in muscle loss. Cancer treatments and cancer place the body under great stress-causing sarcopenia.


What Is Sarcopenia And How To Recognize it?

Sarcopenia occurs when the strength of your muscle is reduced and some signs point towards this.

When sarcopenia is in its early stages, you may start experiencing physical weakness over time with difficulty in lifting the objects you usually did easily before. Some clinics or studies may perform a hand gripping strength test to diagnose sarcopenia.

There are other ways through which one can notice this decreased strength including slow walking, fast exhaustiveness, reduced interest in activities. Weight loss without trying may also be a sign.

However since these signs may be seen in other health issues, you have to go to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.


How To Reverse Or Prevent Sarcopenia

The best way to resist sarcopenia is to make sure your muscles are active. Combining aerobic exercise, balance training, and resistance training can reverse or prevent muscle loss. Performing a minimum of two exercises plan weekly is good enough to actively engage your muscles.

Here are some beneficial exercise;

  • Resistance training: This includes weightlifting, moving your body parts against gravity, and using resistance bands. What happens when you do resistance training is that the fibers in your muscles become tense resulting in the release of growth signals which in turn increases strength.
  • Fitness training: Performing sustained exercise such as endurance training and aerobic exercise which raises your heartbeat controls sarcopenia. Most studies done on the effect of aerobic exercise on the prevention or treatment of sarcopenia have shown it to be effective.
  • Walking: As simple as walking is it engages your muscles preventing or reversing sarcopenia. This is an activity that you can easily do wherever you are.
  • Nutrients: If you have insufficient proteins, calories, certain minerals, and vitamins in your body this may increase your risk of losing muscles. However, if you are not deficient but choose to get higher doses of these nutrients it can enhance the growth of your muscle.


Bottom Line

What is sarcopenia? This is muscle loss and reduced muscle strength that is common among seniors. It can decrease one’s quality of life and lifespan. Sarcopenia can be prevented by engaging your muscles frequently. Some exercises are known to improve muscle mass and strength. Also, you need to eat more calories, proteins, and omega 3 as these nutrients help in the fight against sarcopenia.

What Is Sarcopenia?