How to Eat and Exercise to Prevent Age-Related Muscle Loss from Sarcopenia (Page 2)

The Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Sarcopenia

The Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Sarcopenia

In the short term, any amount of lean muscle or strength loss can cause annoyances ranging from not being able to open a jar of pickles to premature aging (sunken cheeks, more pronounced wrinkling). And if left unchecked, sarcopenia can lead to a host of issues later in life, including disability and increased mortality risk due to frailty. It also ups your odds for metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes—since muscle tissue helps regulate blood sugar, insulin and other hormones. In fact, it’s estimated that the annual direct health costs of age-related muscle loss soar upwards of $18.5 billion in the U.S.—making it a ­pricier problem than osteoporosis. “Sarcopenia tends to be a slow and insidious process—it’s not something that just happens when you reach old age,” says Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and metab­olism at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. “The parallel we often draw is with osteoporosis. It’s subtle at first and becomes far more consequential when it has progressed. That’s why it’s so important to maintain as much lean muscle mass as you can, from your thirties and forties onward. But even if you start later in life you can make a big difference.”

And that (finally!) brings us to some happy news: experts say there are simple, science-proven steps you can take to preserve those muscles of yours—and even reverse age-related loss that has already occurred. Oh, and a lot of the advice involves eating! What could be better? Dig in:

Next: 1. Nosh on High-Quality Protein »

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