September 21st every year is ‘Day to Beat Dementia’. It was designated as a national anniversary in 2011 to publicize the importance of dementia management and to form a national consensus for overcoming dementia. In particular, the treatment and prevention of obesity is considered one of the prevention methods for dementia.
Experts say that to prevent dementia, beware of losing muscle and increasing abdominal obesity. In fact, ‘sarcopenic obesity’, which is common in the elderly, is known to be a detrimental factor in dementia. This means a condition that accompanies obesity and sarcopenia.
A study from Juntendo University in Japan found that sarcopenic obesity is a factor that promotes dementia in the elderly. In the healthy elderly without sarcopenia and obesity, the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment was 14.5% and the prevalence of dementia was 1.6%. On the other hand, those with sarcopenic obesity had a prevalence of mild cognitive impairment of 40.8%, and the prevalence of dementia increased to 14.5%.
Gyu-hee Chae, CEO of Nowon’s 365mc Branch, said, “It is a natural phenomenon for the elderly to lose muscle mass. In general, everyone in their 40s continues to lose muscle mass, and after their 60s, it’ n decreased by 3% a year, most notably in their 70s.” he explained.
In severe cases, you may experience ‘sarcopenia’. This refers to a condition where the body weight (kg) divided by the square of the height (m2) has a BMI of 25kg/m2 or more, and muscle strength and muscle function are reduced. As a result of a study of the Korean geriatric aging cohort of community residents aged 70–84 years across the country, it was reported that 21.3% of men and 13.8% of women were diagnosed with sarcopenia.
CEO Chae chose ‘decreased grip strength’ as the easiest way to check if muscle strength is decreasing. He said, “If you keep dropping objects when exchanging objects due to reduced grip strength, or if it becomes difficult to open a bottle cap or turn a door handle in everyday life, it could be suspicious. If that’s up to is difficult, you need to go to a hospital and get a diagnosis,” he said.
Sarcopenia is definitely a disease, but the problem is that there is no cure or cure. CEO Chae emphasized, “In old age, you should pay attention to protein intake as a goal to prevent loss, not an increase in muscle strength.” In particular, the empty space where muscles are missing is full of fat, so it needs to be controlled more.
CEO Chae said, “An increase in excess body fat is also reported as one of the factors that adversely affects dementia. Ultimately, maintaining an appropriate weight and muscle mass is key to preventing dementia. It should not be ignored as there is a high risk of leading to ‘obesity similar to visual fat’.”
To do this, protein must be carefully included in the diet, and it is said that the lower the daily protein intake, the higher the incidence of sarcopenia. CEO Chae said, “Elderly people often feel the burden of protein intake such as meat because their digestive function is weak. Instead, they often resolve their meals lightly with salty side dishes such as kimchi and diet that are high in carbohydrates and sodium, such as stews. , improve it from now on.” Rather than starting a low-salt diet from scratch, it is better to start by adding a soft protein diet such as tofu, soybean meals, a piece of fish, and a steamed egg to each meal. If you have weak teeth, it is recommended to cook them gently by boiling or steaming them.
According to him, if the goal is to prevent muscle loss, it is recommended to eat 1.2 to 1.4 g of protein per minimum body weight (kg) per day. If you are a bit more greedy and consider muscle growth, you can increase it to 1.6g per 1kg of body weight. CEO Chae said, “Rather than eating the amount of protein you need to eat for a day at once, eating an appropriate amount in three meals is more beneficial in terms of nutrient absorption. You can also consider taking it as
It is also positive to add light exercise to your daily routine along with a change in your diet. Everyone suffers from muscle weakness, but adding more exercise can slow the build-up. In this process, body fat like abdominal obesity is also naturally cured. In particular, if you start to change to a ‘body shape with a convex belly and narrow legs’, you should start managing it as a red flag for muscle loss.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, and 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 3 days a week in old age. The American Academy of Sports Medicine (ACSM) also recommends moderate-intensity aerobic activity and strength training for the elderly for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week, for a total of 150 minutes.
However, if you overdo strength training, you are more likely to get injured. It is safest to seek professional help whenever possible.
You don’t have to go through heavy weight training to build muscle. CEO Chae explained, “Dance classes where you can use muscles you don’t normally use, and ‘water aerobics’ or ‘swimming’, where you can use more muscle strength through water resistance, are exercises good for maintaining muscles.”
If you are a beginner in exercise, strength training using small equipment such as elastic band exercises is useful. In particular, if you sit lightly with a gym ball on your back and lift, you can safely perform the ‘flower’ squat from strength training. CEO Chae emphasized, “Maintaining muscle mass and reducing unwanted body fat is a shortcut not only to preventing dementia but also to creating a healthy old age.”
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