Sarcopenia (sar-co-pee-nee-uh) is decreased muscle mass and strength. Sarcopenia plays a major role in falls and fractures. Sarcopenia weakens bones.
Sarcopenia, a relatively new concept, was discussed at the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) last month. Understanding and treating sarcopenia helps prevent osteoporosis and fractures.
Muscles tend to shrink and weaken as you get older. This is due to loss of testosterone (in women as well as men) and fewer vitamin D receptors. You need to use a greater percentage of a muscle’s ultimate strength to generate the same force. Therefore, you have less strength in reserve for an emergency, like trying to catch your balance if you trip. Therefore, you are more likely to fall.
Muscle contractions compress bones. This makes bones bigger and stronger. Therefore, less muscle means weaker compression and weaker bones. Weaker bones mean more fractures, especially if you fall more often. What can you do?
Practice balance exercises such as standing on one leg. Practice strengthening your muscles by climbing stairs, doing shallow knee bends, or standing from sitting on a chair and siting back down again slowly. And be sure to get enough protein daily to build good muscles as well as good bones.
You can Take Control Naturally and fight off sarcopenia, falls, and fractures.
Jay Ginther, MD