From movement to metabolism, and more, muscles are the ultimate multitaskers. But what happens if you lose too much muscle?
Are you tired by the time you reach the top of the stairs? Have you been ill or hospitalized and lost weight recently? Are you walking slower than normal? These can all be signs of muscle loss, and it's more common than you might think.
Advanced muscle loss, or sarcopenia, affects one in three adults ages 50 and older, according to an Age and Ageing review.
"You have more than 600 muscles in your body, which account for up to 40 percent of your body weight — that's almost half of you," explains Suzette Pereira, Ph.D., a researcher specializing in muscle health at Abbott. "While aging is natural, losing too much muscle is not and can directly impact your mobility, strength and energy levels, immune system, and even organ function."
Because muscles are intrinsically linked to so many systems, research published in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine argues that a person's muscle mass is a far better predictor of health than body mass index (BMI).
References: 1. Morley JE. Sarcopenia in the elderly. Fam Pract 2012;29:i44-i48. 2. Cruz-Jentoft AJ, Landi F, Schneider SM, et al. Prevalence of and interventions for sarcopenia in ageing adults: a systematic review. Report of the International Sarcopenia Initiative (EWGSOP and IWGS). Age and Ageing 2014;43:748-759. 3. Argilés JM, Campos N, Lopez-Pedrosa JM, et al. Skeletal Muscle Regulates Metabolism via Interorgan Crosstalk: Roles in Health and Disease. JAMDA 2016;17(9):789-796. 4. Abramowitz MK, Hall CB, Amodu A, et al. Muscle mass, BMI, and mortality among adults in the United States: A population-based cohort study. PLoS One 2018; 13(4):e0194697. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194697.