Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterized by a gradual loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, at risk of presenting adverse outcomes, such as physical disability, poor quality of life and increased mortality. Its prevalence begins to increase in people over 65 and is accused in people over 80 years.
Causes of sarcopenia
Usually it has a multimodal cause, that is to say, that they interact several causes at the same time. Prolonged bed rest, sedentary lifestyle, insufficient protein synthesis (poor diet, malabsorption, digestive disorders), chronic organic diseases (heart failure, respiratory failure, liver disease, neurological diseases, etc.), neoplasms, inflammatory diseases, or use of drugs that favor anorexia, are among the factors that predispose to suffer sarcopenia.
Prevention of sarcopenia
Sarcopenia can be prevented in part. Healthy living, balanced eating, and endurance exercise (lifting weights, brisk walking, cycling, etc.) several times a week help maintain, and even build muscle mass.
In the food section, an adequate intake of protein (1-1.3 g / kg / day), vitamin D and other antioxidants such as selenium, vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids (blue fish) is essential to have a quality muscular mass capable of responding to the functional needs of the patient.
It is convenient to avoid tobacco and excessive consumption of alcohol. Likewise, we will avoid as far as possible absolute repose (old paradigm of popular medicine) and very restrictive diets.
Treatment of sarcopenia
Once sarcopenia is established there is no "standard" treatment that will ensure recovery. The treatment must be individualized. Therefore, once you have the diagnosis, it is advisable to go to an aging expert who studies the case and propose solutions.
The first step will be to adequately treat the patient's underlying disease or illness and look for how he has lost strength and / or muscle mass. Another important aspect is the study of the functional level (strength, mobility, physical capacity, response to effort, gait, balance), along with cognitive and nutritional assessment (muscle mass, body fat).
From this study we can elaborate a therapeutic plan that includes all the areas studied, the correction of the deficit and that allows us the evaluation of the same periodically.