Aging Can Lead to Sarcopenia, Which Is The Loss Of Strength Due to The Loss Of Muscle Mass
Have you been diagnosed with sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass? Pegasus Skilled Care specialists in Woodland Hills are here to help you cope. For example, our team offers physical therapy designed to increase your strength.
The word sarcopenia is derived from the Greek words for flesh (sarx) and loss (penia). The condition is primarily a loss of muscle tissue, rather than flesh. Sarcopenia shrinks your body and leaves you weakened.
Age is the primary cause of sarcopenia. You begin losing muscle mass in your twenties. Most people have more muscle mass when young than they use, so the loss isn’t noticeable.
Studies indicate that you lose 1 – 2 percent of muscle mass per year. You start noticing the loss as you pass 50 years of age. By the time you’re 65 or older, you may become so weak that the simplest tasks are difficult.
Muscle weakness makes you move slowly and easily lose your balance. Falling and the resulting injuries can occur frequently. Sarcopenia can also lead to other problems such as heart disease.
The picture is not totally black, however. Although sarcopenia is progressive, it can be slowed. Factors other than age have a role in how it progresses.
These include lifestyle habits like:
- Being a couch potato
- Eating junk food
- Not eating enough
- Vices such as smoking
If these sound familiar to you, it’s because you’ve heard about poor lifestyle habits from everyone concerned with good health.
Pegasus Home Health Care in Woodland Hills Helps You Make Better Choices
Use it or lose it. You’ve probably heard that hundreds, if not thousands, of times. As the years take their toll, using “it” gets more difficult.
Physical therapists in Woodland Hills can help. Our home care therapists start with evaluating your current abilities. They then plan gentle movements and exercises tailored to meet your needs.
Other members of our team will help you engage in physical activity that’s more fun. Even a walk around the block can do wonders for your health.
You are what you eat. That’s another cliche that you’ve heard time and time again. Adequate amounts of healthy food provide the fuel your body needs to function well.
Experts recommend consuming healthy protein to build muscle mass. Pegasus nurses and dietitians can help you with meal planning. If you need assistance with shopping or meal preparation, our aides are there for you.
As for those vices, we know they are a source of pleasure for you. We will help you cut back or quit when you’re ready. We are concerned about your health and will help you make good choices, but we’ll never force you.
Aging Affects Everything
Aging affects your nervous system. Research shows that you lose 30 – 50 percent of the nerves in your legs by the time you’re 75. Nerve loss leads to muscle deterioration and your muscles stop functioning correctly.
As well as your nerves, the passing years have other ways of weakening your muscles. These include:
- Changes in hormones
- Chronic disease
- Fatty deposits in organs
- Cell death
Although these are mostly beyond your control, maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps alleviate the consequences.
The healthier your muscles are, the better your remaining nerves can keep them healthy. Physical therapy can potentially improve muscle health. Good strong muscles are your best defense against sarcopenia.
Symptoms of sarcopenia vary with the degree and rate of muscle loss. You may first notice that you’re weaker than you used to be. You might not have the endurance you had in the past.
Other symptoms can include:
- Weight gain from inactivity
- Noticeable muscle shrinkage
- Difficulty keeping your balance
- Inability to climb stairs
- Gait problems
The greater the muscle loss, the less you’re able to do. The less you’re able to do, the more muscle mass you lose.
Sarcopenia Doesn’t Have a Cure
The specialists at Mayo Clinic have conducted studies that show “exercise can help at any age.” It is never too late to start. They recommend strengthening exercises twice a week.
They also recommend aerobic exercise along with stretching and balancing exercises. That may sound intimidating. A Woodland Hills physical therapist will help you get started.
As with all care offered by Pegasus home health, physical therapy is always individualized. Our professionals consult with your physician. You’re never pushed beyond your limits.
You may not want to engage in physical activity or therapy. Unfortunately, there are no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The only medical advice for slowing the progression of sarcopenia is lifestyle changes.
There are some studies underway regarding hormone therapy. Conclusive results depend on further investigation. Other pharmaceutical products are being developed, but there’s nothing effective currently in the pipeline.
Pegasus health care in Woodland Hills can help with the care you need to live safely and independently at home. The goal of our staff and our professionals is to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to get started on your road to improved health.