Adults lose 24% of their muscle mass between 40 and 70 years, affecting the quality of life. Diet and exercise are the keys to fighting sarcopenia.
They say that “the years do not pass in vain” and that we are going to grow old someday. Nevertheless, we never imagine how soon we will begin to suffer the loss of energy, strength, and resistance in our body. And the main thing, what can we do to slow down muscle loss?
After 30 years the development of muscles stops and begins to gradually decrease. The loss of body mass begins between 20 and 30 years in sedentary people. We do not notice it because we are accustomed to only consider body weight, but muscle mass and fat change their proportions even though the weight remains stable.
Marilyn McGuire is close to 50 years old and has trained with aerobic exercise and weights for 25 years. After the menopause, she began to notice that her strength was less and the resistance she had also, she no longer felt like going to the gym and the amount of weight she used in her exercises was less and less. The diagnosis was sarcopenia when seeing a doctor.
What is sarcopenia
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass with aging, therefore strength and exercise tolerance, with it comes the decrease of bone mass and the increase in fat mass.
How to detect that you are losing more muscle? There are three factors to consider:
Muscle mass: it is calculated by measuring the circumference of the calf that should not be less than 31 centimeters, otherwise it is a sign of loss of muscular mass.
Muscular strength: it is measured with a dynamometer. Women should achieve a minimum tension of 20 kilograms, while men a minimum of 30 kilograms. This can also be perceived in the amount of force that is printed on a hand greeting that, based on the complexion must be strong.
Physical performance: this is calculated when we go to the doctor and takes our heart rate after a series of steps.
But, if you think you’re too young to worry, here are some important facts. On average, adults lose 24% of their muscle mass between 40 and 70 years of age, the loss accelerates to 15% per decade, from 70 years of age.
Women are the most affected because between 40 and 49 years, the loss is up to 34%, while for men it is about 24%. After 60, women lose up to 59% of their body mass and men 47%.
Signs and risks
Loss of muscle mass can be noted in the lack of energy, the lower strength and flexibility of muscles, lack of balance and coordination, slower walking or an increase in the likelihood of falls and fractures, as well as the risk of disease and infection increases, and the ability to recover from surgery decreases.
But how does it affect the quality of life? Gradual loss begins by affecting the person’s immunity, but in very extreme cases it could lead to death.
– When you lose 10% of lean body mass, you become more prone to infections.
– When it loses 20% it presents the weakness, the thinning of the skin, reduces the reduction of the capacity of cure.
– 30% loss causes an intense weakness to sit, no wound healing, increased risk of pneumonia and mortality risks up to 50%.
– A person who has lost 40% of his body mass can die of pneumonia.
Prevention at any age
The good news is that prevention can start at any age. To prevent sarcopenia it is necessary to include nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, proteins and other nutrients in the diet, in addition to performing proper exercising, for which the doctor must be consulted.
It is very common that with age decrease the efficiency with which nutrients are processed, lower the appetite and an increase in digestive problems. The best treatment for sarcopenia is proper consumption of:
It helps the body to build and maintain muscle mass. Individuals need 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight.
– Vitamin D
It helps the body maintain normal muscle function and increases calcium absorption for strong bones. It is found naturally in fatty fish, liver oil, and cod, and is activated when ultraviolet light B (UVB) touches the skin.
It is a metabolic amino acid, Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate that exists naturally in muscle cells. Is an active metabolite of the amino acid leucine, which helps the production of proteins. In minimal quantities, it is also found in avocado, grapefruit, and fish.