“I thought it was simple aging”…a serious problem caused by neglected sarcopenia

‘Muscles’ located in every part of the body where movement is possible. It is responsible for moving and handling our body and enables us to maintain our posture. It is also the role of the muscles to move the heart and internal organs. As such, muscles affect the whole body, so when muscle mass is not sufficient, various problems appear.

The problem is that after the age of 40 the muscles gradually decrease due to ageing. In addition, in the elderly, there are not a few cases of ‘sarcomenia’, a disease where not only muscle mass but also muscle strength and function decreases.

Sarcopenia is a disease that needs to be treated |Source: Getty Image Bank

Diseases that need to be managed and treated… ‘sarcomenia’

Sarcopenia is a disease in which muscle size, strength and function all decrease with age, leading to a reduction in quality of life and an increase in mortality. The main factors for the appearance and progression of sarcopenia include hormonal changes that accompany aging, nutritional status, and lack of physical activity. In addition, it is known to appear at high frequency in patients with acute / chronic diseases such as cancer and degenerative diseases. Diabetic patients also have a high risk of occurrence. According to a study conducted by the Endocrinology Research Team at Saint Mary’s International Hospital at Kwandong Catholic University, published in 2019, type 2 diabetic patients have a 1.6 times higher risk of sarcopenia of compared to normal people of the same age.

When sarcopenia occurs, not only does muscle strength decrease, but it becomes difficult to lift objects well and climb stairs or hills. Fall often. These symptoms make everyday life difficult and can further lead to problems such as osteoporosis, falls and fractures.

Blood sugar control also takes a crisis. Muscles store excess glucose in the form of glycogen, and as a muscle deteriorates, the amount of glucose that can be stored decreases. When this happens, the blood sugar control is not smooth, and the blood sugar level remains high. High blood sugar is a problem even for healthy people, but in the case of diabetic patients, special attention is needed because complications can occur.

A domestic study also found that the mortality rate increased up to 2.4 times if there was sarcopenia after a kidney transplant. This is the result of the research team led by Professor Hyunjung Kim, Professor Lee Joohan Lee, and Kyuha Heo from Severance Hospital Transplant Surgery, published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Transplantation, the official academic journal of the American Transplantation Society. .

The research team analyzed the relationship between muscle mass and surgical prognosis in 623 people who received a kidney transplant between 2004 and 2019. As a result, the mortality rate within 10 years of the sarcopenia group (155 patients) was up to 2.4 times higher than the rate of the normal group (468 patients). Mortality rates at 1, 5, and 10 years after transplantation in the normal group were 1.5%, 4.4%, and 7.1%, respectively, but in the sarcopenia group, they were 4.6%, 11.6%, and 17.1%. . They also found that rehospitalization within one year after surgery was significantly higher in the sarcopenia group.

In addition, according to domestic and foreign studies, sarcopenia is a risk factor that increases the possibility of dementia and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, if sarcopenia is detected, it should be treated actively. In addition, the elderly, who have a high risk of sarcopenia, should strive to prevent it.

What is the right way to prevent and manage sarcopenia?

There is still no cure for sarcopenia. Until a cure is developed, only two things are most effective in curing sarcopenia: nutrition and exercise.

In particular, it is important to supplement with sufficient protein. Protein is part of muscle, and a lack of protein intake can cause and worsen sarcopenia by using the protein stored in the muscle. In general, the recommended protein intake is between 0.8 and 1.2 kg per kg of body weight. However, patients with sarcopenia may require 1.2 to 1.5 g per 1 kg of body weight. It is desirable to determine the amount of protein taken by consulting a specialist.

Strength training is also important. However, in the case of the elderly, sudden and excessive strength training can increase the risk of injury as well as cause and worsen disease. Therefore, it is good to gradually increase the intensity of exercise with light weights. Warming up before exercise is essential. After middle age, flexibility is often reduced or joints are stiff. After warming up for about 10 minutes, you should do this exercise to strengthen your muscles without injury.


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