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No one is exempt from the effects of aging, which include an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, weakening of the bones and muscles, a thinning of the skin, and changes in weight and metabolism. In some individuals, one or more of these issues can be especially acute; for instance, those who experience a loss of muscle mass and strength as they age may have a condition called sarcopenia, which involves a reduction in the number and size of muscle fibers and a corresponding change in physical ability. Because some of the health issues faced by older people are specific to certain individuals, it makes sense to wonder, “Does everyone get sarcopenia?” To find out the answer, continue reading as the team at ENU, makers of nutritional shakes for seniors, expand on this topic.
Who Does Get Sarcopenia?
Because muscle loss is a natural consequence of aging, everyone gets sarcopenia at some point, provided they reach “senior” status. In fact, the process begins around age 30 for most people, at which point muscle mass tends to decline at a rate of between 3 and 5% each decade; once the person passes age 60, however, this rate can increase dramatically, with those over age 70 losing as much as 15% of their muscle mass per decade.
However, although all seniors – and even some middle-aged people – are affected by this condition to some extent, there are certain risk factors that can increase a person’s susceptibility to sarcopenia, and which may hasten the process of muscle reduction. Generally speaking, a sedentary, inactive lifestyle is believed to contribute to the effects of sarcopenia, as is a lack of proper nutrition; this dietary element is especially problematic in those who don’t get enough protein each day. In short, while everyone gets sarcopenia, not everyone is affected by it to the same degree.
Can Everyone Get Treatment for Sarcopenia?
Although sarcopenia is a pervasive issue, the good news is that treatment for this ailment is fairly simple and accessible to almost as many people as have the condition. That’s because, even though the primary cause of sarcopenia – aging – can’t be stopped, the effects of sarcopenia on muscle tissue can be mitigated or even reversed. To do so, you need to focus on two specific factors that are beneficial to everyone, regardless of age or condition: diet and exercise.
Fighting Sarcopenia with Nutrition
Maintaining a healthy, well-rounded diet is just as important for seniors as it is for anyone else, if not more so. In addition to observing good eating habits and making sound dietary choices, however, those looking to stop or slow their loss of muscle mass should concentrate on ensuring the proper levels of protein intake; experts recommend getting at least one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, which amounts to about 82 grams of protein per day for a person weighing 180 pounds.
Not only do the amino acids in protein help preserve muscle mass, but they’re essential components of new muscle tissue, so a lack of protein in the diet can leave the body unable to replace or supplement the muscles of those with sarcopenia. Protein sources that are easily digested, such as whey, are ideal, but any source of complete proteins (those containing all nine essential amino acids) can be helpful, too, including meat, dairy, and soy. Along with protein, vitamin D has also been shown to play a role in supporting strong, healthy muscles, so make sure you get enough of that as well; aim for about 50,000 IU per week, which will likely require the use of vitamins or other supplements.
Exercising to Fight Sarcopenia
The other side of the anti-sarcopenia coin is exercise. Because some people with sarcopenia don’t have the same level of mobility as others, the form this exercise takes can vary, and any exercise regimen – regardless of your condition – should only be undertaken at the direction of your doctor.
Exercise is essential because it stimulates the creation of new muscle tissue in the body and works to build strength, balance, mobility, and independence. It’s generally accepted that progressive resistance training is the best way to build up muscle mass, as it allows those with sarcopenia to start at a level they’re comfortable with and slowly increase the intensity of their routine as their strength improves. With the help of a qualified personal trainer, you can create a routine that makes sense for your fitness level and current muscle mass.
And while it’s important to increase the amount of strength your muscles possess – as in, the amount of force they can generate – it’s also crucial to consider the role power plays in daily life – that is, the ability to engage your muscles quickly and efficiently, as you would when climbing the stairs. To improve your muscles’ power, you can simply work to increase (within reason) the speed at which you perform everyday motions, such as standing up out of a seated position or lifting your body from step to step. As with strength training, however, you should only perform these activities within the limits of safety and sense, and only with the advice and support of your doctor.
Safe and Effective Nutritional Support Available for Everyone with Sarcopenia
As outlined above, those suffering from sarcopenia need to keep in mind that battling the condition means observing certain nutritional requirements. To help everyone with sarcopenia meet this need, ENU offers a variety of meal replacement shakes and powdered nutritional supplements designed to provide the protein, vitamins, and other nutrients those with this condition need in a form that’s easy to incorporate into any diet. To learn more about the benefits of ENU products for those with sarcopenia, visit us online or call (855) 266-6733 today.