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Complication of Muscle Loss in Seniors

Involuntary muscle loss, muscle atrophy, loss of skeletal muscles, and muscle mass loss are all biological processes that could be attributed to or defined as Sarcopenia. It is when your body’s composition starts to change and efficiency slows, which can seriously hinder mobility if muscle strength and nutrition are not kept up. Though there is no exact factor to what causes muscle loss, there are complications you can look out for and seek help with. Support can come from fresh foods, nutritional supplements (eg. Ensure Gold with HMB), and regime of physical activity.1, 7

Potential conditions that lead to muscle loss

 Aside from the biological process of Sarcopenia, muscle loss in the elderly can occur if they have been:2, 3

  • Bedridden for an extended period
  • Having Muscle inflammations and persistent rash
  • In demobilizing injuries
  • Faced with Malnutrition
  • Having pain causing Arthritis
  • On heavy medications with side effects for other conditions
  • Living with Alcoholism or alcohol myopathy

What complications should a senior take note of?

 Appetite – If you are not eating, your muscles will not get the nutrients it needs to repair and regrow. If you or a loved one is always feeling fatigued or refusing food more often, please check nutritional intake and provide support. From chewing problems to loss of taste due to other health conditions, muscle loss due to malnutrition is common in the elderly.2, 4, 5

Physical Complications – Besides walking issues, muscle loss can affect an elderly’s ability to breath as that function requires muscles too. Muscle loss or not, vision fluctuations, lapse in consciousness, or sudden immobility of certain body parts could be the start of a stroke. Muscle loss can cause decrease in immune response, bone frailty, delayed healing, numbness in extremities, and slowed reaction times.4, 5

Mental – any health condition, especially muscle loss that affects mobility, seriously affects mental health. An elderly’s greatest worry is being bound to a chair and surrounded by unfamiliar people, even when receiving care. Cognitive impairments and depression are bi directional, as in one can be the cause and result of the other.4, 5

In your youth, your body could have easily bounced back from unfavorable habits, but with aging symptoms resurface and will not be able to recover well. You may not be able to stop aging, but you can age well. Sometimes by simply changing eating habits by switching to whole foods and natural ingredients, regularly scheduled physical activity programs, revisiting medications, and providing support can help improve the quality of life. An easy way to test muscle strength is by taking the Stand Up for Strength Muscle Age Test. It involves doing a few sit-to-stand from the chair with a timer. Depending on how fast you can do it without straining yourself, it determines what your muscle age is at.6, 7

  1. Sit up in a comfortable chair with feet firmly on the ground and arms crossed onto each shoulder.
  2. Sit and stand for 5 times
  3. Time yourself of how long the 5 sets take you
  4. Inset your time into the Stand Up for Strength Muscle Age Test calculator with your age and gender.
  5. The age displayed is based on your muscle age. Your time is calculated by comparing the average time of the people of your age.

But due to certain living situations and limiting access to fresh neutral foods, getting proper nutrition may be difficult for some seniors. That is why nutritional supplements like Ensure Gold with HMB, #1 Nutritional Supplement Drink In the world, provides complete and balanced nutrition. What is HMB? Hydroxymethylbutyrate is a metabolite of leucine, an important amino acid responsible for muscle repair and rebuilding. This nutrient is especially important for seniors as it helps in slowing down muscle breakdown. Ensure Gold with HMB is available in powder and liquid, leaving a senior many options in how they need to fit and begin to live the life they want well while their muscle health is fully supported.6, 7

References:

  1. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/129/1/256S/4723305
  2. https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/2016/03/what-causes-loss-of-appetite-in-elderly/
  3. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/bones-joints-and-muscles/muscle-atrophy
  4. https://musculardystrophynews.com/2017/07/17/complications-muscular-dystrophy/
  5. https://europepmc.org/article/PMC/5971168
  6. https://abbott-campaigns.com/ensure-stand4strength/
  7. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/brands/ensure/ensure-gold-hmb-liquid