Sarcopenia Treatment in Abingdon, VA
As they age, most people complain of aches and pains. People expect that they will move slower, shrink in height, exhibit increased fat storage, develop slumped posture and see diminished strength. They likely have problems maintaining balance and may experience frequent falls which can lead to major injuries. Oftentimes, the root of many of these age-related issues is sarcopenia.
Put most simply, a sarcopenia definition would be: the age-related loss of muscle. Sarcopenia includes the loss of muscle mass, muscle function as well as muscle strength, all of which can lead to the classic hallmarks of aging described above. Sarcopenia is the most common causal contributor to physical disability and loss of independence. Although a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the development of sarcopenia as you age, there are multiple factors that influence its progress. It can even impact active, healthy adults as they age.
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Abingdon that specializes in sarcopenia treatment, call (423) 301-6964 or contact Dr. Joseph Radawi online.
The Development of Sarcopenia
Research suggest several hypotheses for how sarcopenia may develop. There are nerve cells that send signals from your brain to your muscles to trigger movement, and as you age, the number of those nerve cells decreases. A reduced appetite is associated with aging, and the resulting nutritional deficiencies, together with a low intake of calories and protein, may be inadequate to maintain muscle mass. The aging body also has a decreased ability to digest, synthesize and use protein effectively to maintain muscle. Certain hormones, like human growth hormone, exhibit low or no production as you age.
Muscle loss is not the only significant change that has previously been considered a natural function of aging. Without specific interventions, most of your hormone levels will shift, sleep patterns will alter, motor neurons will die, dietary requirements and tastes will change, certain disease states tend to manifest and most aging adults will become more sedentary. In fact, 56-65 percent of adults age 75 years or older are physically inactive. All of these factors, together, contribute specifically to the development of sarcopenia, and sarcopenia can then likewise exacerbate those conditions.
The symptoms of sarcopenia may include the following:
- Decreased muscle mass, function and strength
- Difficulty walking or standing for long periods
- Falls and fractures
- Other problems with mobility
- Reduction in activity level
- Weakened bones
- Weight gain due to muscle loss, less activity and associated hormonal changes
The loss of muscle has metabolic ramifications and affects other bodily functions, including:
- Decrease in resting metabolic rate
- Increased incidence of insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
- Increased blood fats like cholesterol and triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- Poor circulation
- Reduced immune function
- Heart disease
Sarcopenia symptoms manifest gradually over a period of years, so the disease is not typically noticed until after the disease process is well under way and significant muscle mass has been lost. Muscle mass peaks in your 20s and 30s, but the process of sarcopenia can start in your 40s and will usually accelerate tremendously in your 70s.
If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, a healthcare provider will likely test you for sarcopenia by doing imaging tests to determine your level of muscle mass using an MRI or DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) test. The DXA test also measures your mass of bone and fat. Some healthcare providers may request a BIA test (bioelectric impedence analysis) since it is a less-invasive and cost-effective method of measuring muscle mass. It is a quicker test, but BIA may be less reliable, depending on your ethnicity, age or something as simple as your hydration level.
Sarcopenia is often coupled with other diseases related to aging, making its effects even more problematic and increasing your risk factors for age-related disability. For instance, the risk of falls and bone injury is greater if you suffer from both osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Preventing or treating sarcopenia reduces the impact of other co-existing diseases.
There is no cure for sarcopenia. There is research underway exploring the use of hormone replacement therapy to help correct the gradual decrease in hormone levels as you age. The number one sarcopenia treatment is prevention with regular, properly designed strength training through resistance exercises. It can reverse some of the major symptoms of sarcopenia in as little as two weeks. The best course of ongoing prevention and treatment is to incorporate a regular physical fitness regimen, along with strength training, into your daily routine, and to ensure you consume an adequate amount of the right protein-rich foods. Your healthcare provider may suggest any of the following dietary recommendations as part of a healthy diet:
- Mediterranean diet
- Anti-inflammatory foods and omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil
- Vitamin D
A complete list of dietary recommendations can be provided to you by your healthcare provider. He or she may also recommend limiting your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.
Request more information about sarcopenia treatment and prevention today. Call (423) 301-6964 or contact Dr. Joseph Radawi online.
Tri-Cities Functional Medicine
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