What Is Sarcopenia?
From the age of 50 on, it’s estimated that people lose upwards of 2% of their muscle mass each year. Sarcopenia is a chronic health condition where people lose enough muscle mass to experience changes to their gait due to the loss of muscle. Some people experience frailty.
However, sarcopenia is preventable. If it’s already diagnosed, your mom can then take steps to limit the change in mobility and physical strength. Learn more about sarcopenia and the things your mom needs to do to avoid it impacting her daily routines.
How Many People Have Sarcopenia?
Between the ages of 60 and 70, it’s estimated that one out of ten adults has sarcopenia. It increases with age. By the time a person is 80 or older, as many as half of that age group have it.
The loss of muscle strength increases the risk of a fall, so it’s important that your mom works on balance and mobility to prevent injuries common with falling, such as a hip fracture or traumatic brain injury.
What Causes It?
Lots of things impact muscle health. Your mom likely experienced one of the common problems. Menopause causes hormonal changes, and also the decline of estrogen impacts bone and muscle health.
If your mom isn’t overly active, it can become an issue. Obesity and malnutrition are both factors in sarcopenia. Therefore, her diet impacts her chances of developing it. Finally, chronic health issues like cancer, kidney health, dementia, and cardiovascular disease can all play a part.
Make Sure Your Mom Eats Enough Protein
Older adults should eat 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Less than this can affect the muscles, as muscles require the amino acids from protein to stay healthy. Good sources of lean protein include fish, tofu, dried beans, eggs, and poultry.
She Needs to Stay Active
While her instinct may be to stay close to home and avoid walking around as her muscles start to feel strained, your mom needs to stay active. If she can’t stand for long, an exercise bike may help build leg strength.
When she takes walks outside, have someone with her. If she has someone to hold, she’ll walk farther, as she doesn’t feel so alone. The more she walks, the stronger her muscles become.
Arrange Physical Therapy Sessions to Improve Muscle Strength
How does physical therapy help? A therapist works with your mom to strengthen her muscles and joints, gain better balance, and become more mobile. She’ll gain confidence as she feels her body getting stronger. Talk to your mom’s doctor to learn more about getting a referral for physical therapy.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Physical Therapy in Wilmette, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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