Sarcopenia and Aging

Source: By OpenStax – https://cnx.org/contents/FPtK1zmh@8.25:fEI3C8Ot@10/Preface, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30015055

Sarcopenia is the irreversible loss of muscle cells due to aging. Even highly trained athletes are susceptible to the condition and this explains the declining of performance as we age. The performance reduction is more observable in people with activity that requires strength and power like sprinting but less observable in people with activity that requires endurance like long-distance runners. As we age, our muscle fibers die and replaced with adipose and connective tissues. Adipose and connective tissues do not contract and generate force like the muscle, thus the muscles loss the capability to contract with enough power. When muscles loss strength, posture and mobility will be affected.

Exercising may delay the development of sarcopenia because it adds proteins that help maintain muscle structures and causes changes in muscle cell that can counterbalance the consequences of atrophy. When exercise is increased, mitochondria in cells may become greater in number, capillary density may increase as well as the mass and strength of connective tissue. People with sedentary lifestyle have higher expression of the effect of age-related atrophy. Trouble with locomotion, balance, and posture will be displayed as functional impairments due to the loss of muscle cells. Sarcopenia can reduce the quality of life and can result in other medical problems such as joint problems. Injuries due to falls are some of the consequences as a result of muscle atrophy.

Source:

OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology. Aging and Muscle Tissue. Everyday Connection. Accessed November 10, 2019

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