Sarcopenia is a muscle wasting condition commonly found in many seniors that can lead to disability. Sarcopenia is also a key risk for frailty. Sarcopenia is really a loss in muscle mass that can be accompanied by weakness. It can lead to balance and walking problems. It is usually diagnosed by testing for hand grip strength and also examining the amount of muscle mass in the arms and legs.
Study on the Risk of Community-dwelling Seniors to become Frail
An Australian study was carried out on the risk of community-dwelling seniors to become frail. The research was led by Dr. Richard Ofori-Asenso and Professor Danny Liew and was published August 3, 2019 in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. This was the first worldwide study that set out to learn if community-dwelling seniors will become frail.
One in Six Community-dwelling Seniors may become Frail
The researchers examined 46 studies of more than 120,000 senior participants over the age of 60 in 28 countries. They discovered that about one in six community-dwelling seniors may become frail. Women were more likely to become frail than men.
Frailty often accompanies a chronic disabling disease. Frailty is characterized by at least three of the following signs:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Low rate of physical activity and exercise
- Weak hand grip
- Feeling low on energy
- Walking at a slow pace
- Unexplained weight loss not connected to dieting
Frailty can Lead to a Low Quality of Life
Frailty can lead to a low quality of life and poses high risks for the following:
- Unintentional falls
Frailty on the Rise
Frailty is on the rise. It is projected that by 2050 more than 20% of the world’s inhabitants will be over the age of 60.
Research Shows that Frailty can be Prevented, Delayed or Reversed
Research shows that frailty can be prevented, delayed or reversed by supplementing protein in the diet and with muscle strengthening exercises.
Dutch Study for Home-based Exercise Program
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a Dutch study showed that a home-based exercise program could help frail seniors get muscle strengthening exercise.
Whey found to be Best Protein for Building Muscle Mass in Seniors
A study published October 4, 2018 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the best protein to rebuild muscle mass in seniors is whey, which is a liquid dairy by-product from making curdled milk cheeses.
Green Tomatoes may be able to Prevent Sarcopenia
According to an article published by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a compound called tomatidine found in green tomatoes may be able to prevent sarcopenia. The NIA research involved wide collaboration between three research laboratories of the National Institute on Aging’s Intramural Research Program: the Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology, the Laboratory of Genetics & Genomics, and the Laboratory of Neurosciences. The research was published April 11, 2017 in Scientific Reports.
Seniors who Lived in Green Areas Protected from Frailty
A study From Hong Kong published February 2, 2018 in JAMDA, the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine showed that seniors who lived in a place containing more than 34% green space showed improvement for frailty. This association was stronger in men than in women. The researchers assume that the men did more physical exercise outside, especially gardening. Read more about green space and frailty in our blog post from July 4, 2018.
Frailty often Leads to the Need for Long-term Skilled Nursing Care
Frailty often leads to the need for long-term skilled nursing care. The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York offers expert 24 hour skilled nursing care. Van Duyn also tailors physical exercises and recreational activities to the needs of each resident dependent on their level of frailty and disability.
Not all seniors become frail, but studies mentioned above show the importance of muscle strengthening exercise and getting enough protein like whey. It pays to do these in the hope of preventing frailty.