The connective tissue of muscle cells is divided into skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and visceral muscle. It not only supports our body and protects bones, but also plays important roles such as the function of creating movement and strength at each position through contraction, and secretion of body fluids. It is said that the amount of muscle that plays an essential role in our body peaks in the 30s, and after that, if you do not exercise regularly, your muscles will decrease by 1 to 2% every year. This reduced muscle mass increases the risk of various related diseases. Sarcopenia is one of these muscle-related diseases, and it refers to a disease in which muscle strength, muscle mass, and muscle function rapidly decrease with increasing age.
The main cause of sarcopenia is the lack of growth hormone, estrogen, and testosterone due to aging. In addition, insufficient intake and absorption of essential amino acids, decreased intake of protein, and lack of exercise are also known to be important parts directly related to the occurrence. And it is reported that sarcopenia is caused in a secondary form by diabetes, spinal stenosis, chronic diseases of the heart, lungs, and kidneys, and hormonal diseases. Now, let’s take a closer look at the main symptoms that cause sarcopenia, as well as various information on prevention and management.
The main symptoms of sarcopenia
The main symptoms that appear when sarcopenia occurs are fatigue that does not go away even when resting, and the symptoms of strength and slowness of walking when getting up from sitting. In addition, the symptoms of difficulty in balancing the body, difficulty in movement, frequent dizziness, and falling easily occur repeatedly. These various symptoms of sarcopenia not only significantly reduce the quality of life in old age, but also cause osteoporosis, fractures, and falls easily, and increase the risk of developing vertebral joint diseases such as hip joint disease and lumbar disc disease. cause it.
In addition, as the basal metabolic rate decreases and the buffering action of blood and hormones in the muscles decreases, it is not easy to heal when you are sick and the recovery rate is slowed down. In addition, rapid muscle loss makes it difficult to control various chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and acts as a factor that makes it easier to aggravate. According to statistics, it is reported that this sudden muscle loss increases the risk of various complications and increases the risk of death by 2 to 5 times. Therefore, if sarcopenia is suspected, it is important to receive an accurate diagnosis through a visit to the hospital, to identify the accompanying diseases, to find the factors affecting the worsening of symptoms, and then to remove the cause. It is also very important to implement various lifestyle habits to improve muscle function.
Prevention and management of sarcopenia
1. Strength training and aerobic exercise
The most important thing in the prevention and management of sarcopenia is to exercise regularly. In particular, strength training is very important to increase and maintain muscle mass. It is said that regular muscle exercise 3 to 4 times a week is effective, and when aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, or cycling is combined, a better effect can be obtained in strengthening muscle strength. However, the wrong exercise that puts a lot of strain on the joints damages the muscles and causes pain, so it is important to keep exercising at an appropriate intensity for yourself. In particular, if you are elderly or have musculoskeletal disorders, it is important to exercise after receiving an appropriate exercise-related prescription from a specialist.
2. Consistent protein intake
Since the aforementioned various exercise habits alone are insufficient to maintain and strengthen muscles, continuous protein intake is also very important. Eating a balanced diet of lean meat, animal and vegetable proteins such as fish, eggs, soybeans, and tofu plays an important role in maintaining the proper balance of amino acids in the body. However, protein supplements intended to increase muscle mass can put strain on the liver and may not be suitable for older patients with sarcopenia, so it is best to get protein through food whenever possible.
3. Consistent intake of vitamin D
Vitamin D intake is as important as protein to prevent muscle loss. When vitamin D, which plays an important role in building muscle, is deficient, muscle strength is weakened, fatigue is easily felt, and it acts as a cause of muscle pain.
Therefore, it is important to consume various foods rich in vitamin D, such as cheese, milk, butter, and salmon, and it is important to be exposed to the sun for at least 20 minutes a day for the natural synthesis of vitamin D in the body. In addition, intake of foods rich in calcium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 also plays an important role in increasing muscle protein synthesis.