What is Sarcopenia?
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass that occurs specifically due to the aging process. It is normal to experience some degree of muscle loss as one age, but sarcopenia is characterized by severe muscle loss that exceeds the norm. As a result, a person’s strength, balance, and gait are all affected.
Muscle atrophy, which is the loss of muscle tissue, is a common feature of both sarcopenia and other types of muscle loss. However, the processes behind them are different. Sarcopenia is caused by a decrease in the size and number of muscle fibers, leading to muscle loss.
Overall, sarcopenia is a condition that specifically affects older adults and is characterized by significant muscle loss. It can have a significant impact on a person’s physical function and independence, which is why it is important to identify and address sarcopenia early.
Studies are inconsistent, and many people don’t receive a diagnosis or treatment for sarcopenia. But rates of the condition range from 5% to 13% in people ages 60 and older. The estimates increase to 11% to 50% in people ages 80 and older.
These are some of the causes attributed to sarcopenia conditions:
- Physical inactivity
- Chronic disease include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Kidney disease, diabeter, cancer and HIV
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Insulin resistance
- Reduction in hormone levels
- Malnurtrition or inadequate protein intake
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