September 2, 2022
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How to Treat Sarcopenia in the Elderly and Improve their Health

Do you want to know how to treat sarcopenia in the elderly?

In the previous blog post, we discussed what sarcopenia is and how it affects a person’s daily life. 

We also discussed the difference between muscle atrophy and sarcopenia. 

Today, we are going to share more information about how to treat sarcopenia in the elderly. We will also be sharing tips on how you can prevent it from happening to your loved ones. 

So let’s get it started… 

Is sarcopenia treatable?

Sarcopenia has its consequences, and they’re often severe in older adults.

As strength and functional capacity decline associated with the condition, it can lead to various adverse health outcomes.

And this includes frailty, disability, or even loss of function needed for daily tasks.

Now the question remains: is sarcopenia treatable, especially in older people?

At the moment, there are no approved medications for sarcopenia approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

But like everything else, prevention is better than cure. 

A huge part of developing sarcopenia in seniors lies in the type of lifestyles they’re living. 

Research reports that 60% of older adults spend more than four hours per day sitting at home. About 65% admit to spending at least three hours and 55% spend two hours watching TV. 

In total, about 67% of the older generation spend about eight and a half hours a day inactive at home. 

A sedentary lifestyle causes more problems, including the development of sarcopenia. 

Other triggers can include unhealthy diets and insufficient nutrients, chronic or long-term diseases, and inflammation caused by illnesses. 

And believe it or not, severe stress can also trigger muscle loss.

So the best way to fight sarcopenia is to prevent it from happening. 

How to prevent sarcopenia in the elderly

A healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent muscle loss in the elderly. 

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. 

Most seniors deal with a lot of habits they’ve developed in the past. And most of them may find it difficult to adapt to new routines and requirements of old age. 

Older adults also often experience a phenomenon called anabolic resistance. This lowers their bodies’ capacity to break down and do protein synthesis.

Hormonal imbalances also affect their body functions including metabolism, blood pressure, and  tissue growth and development.

Because of this, you can expect some resistance when you’re presenting lifestyle changes with your senior loved ones. 

However, encouraging new and healthy habits is worth the effort. 

So here are some ways you can help prevent sarcopenia in your loved ones. 

Get moving! 

The key is to lead a physically active lifestyle. 

Researchers have identified progressive resistance training as the first-line treatment for seniors to avoid sarcopenia.

Resistance training increases muscle strength and stimulates muscle hypertrophy. It also increases the cross-sectional areas responsible for power activity.

how to treat sarcopenia - resistance training

According to the CDC, it is beneficial for older adults to participate in muscle strengthening exercises for at least two days in a week.

Seniors may do training using resistance bands, weights, or exercise machines provided they are fit enough to do so.

Aerobic exercises are also recommended as they improve aerobic capacity, cardiovascular function, and metabolic regulation.

Simple exercises like walking and swimming are also great options to choose from. 

Just a little reminder though. Make sure to consult with health professionals before engaging with any physical activity. 

This way your aging parents will get the right guidance and avoid further muscle or joint strains. 

Check out five common musculoskeletal disorders in seniors you should be aware of.

Add more color to their plate

Food and nutrition plays a crucial role in avoiding sarcopenia altogether. 

It is known that the loss of bone and muscle mass is inevitable as we grow older. To combat this, seniors must increase the intake of good proteins like fish and legumes. 

Animal proteins such as pork and beef may be difficult to digest as we age. Be sure to also offer protein-rich alternatives like nuts, seeds, and whole grain. 

how to treat sarcopenia: fresh and good food

According to the ESPEN, seniors need at least at least 1.0-1.2 g protein of their body weight a day. 

Choose grass fed and locally raised cuts of beef whenever possible to lessen additives and chemicals in meat. And don’t forget to add more fiber to their diet. 

Fiber-rich food like fruits, beans, and nuts can aid in digestion. It also helps your loved ones avoid bowel problems and certain cancers. 

Get more Zzzs

Sleep is vital in ensuring the body’s growth and repair, even in older adults. That’s why you should ensure that your loved ones are getting enough rest every day.

Poor sleep quality and lower duration of sleep increases the risk of muscle mass reduction and strength. 

There are different factors that may affect an elderly person’s sleeping patterns. Medications, sleep disorders, and neurodegenerative disorders are among them. 

However, good sleep can be improved through exercise, proper diet, and creating a conducive sleep environment for your aging parents. 

Check out five effective tips on better sleep for seniors here

Take on a new challenge 

find new challenges

Who says aging should stop you from taking on new challenges and having fun?

There are tons of new and exciting adventures your loved ones can enjoy on their own or with friends. The key is to help them find activities that excite and challenge them. 

If you don’t have any ideas about what to do, check out local senior activity centers near you. 

They have programs like creative arts, community service, volunteer opportunities, and other activities that your loved ones may enjoy. 

You can even gift them with a new pet to take care of! 

Don’t know where to start? Here’s my blog post on how to get the best pet for your parents

Visit your doctor 

It’s best to book a doctor’s visit before deciding on any of the activities listed above. 

Remember, our priority is for your aging parents to be safe, well, and healthy. 

So consult a doctor before changing anything with their diets or daily activities.

Have the doctors check on the best exercise or physical activities your parents can do. Or better yet, ask for referrals for senior programs that would fit their needs. 

If you need help with how to prepare before doctor visits, click here

Final Thoughts

While there’s no quick fix for treating sarcopenia, there are ways to prevent it and/or prevent it from worsening. 

Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and maintaining an active lifestyle are all important steps in keeping your aging parents healthy and happy. 

For more tips on how to care for your loved ones as they age, subscribe to our blog for regular updates. 

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!


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