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What is Sarcopenia and why do I need to know?

Posted on 3rd June 2018 by The Brunswick Centre

Ageing comes to us all! A good diet and regular exercise can help to optimise health and retain strength and function on this journey. The Brunswick Centre has some new physical activity opportunities available, these and the advice below may help you to prevent or slow "sarcopenia" as you age.

The good news is people are living with HIV into old age, the not so great news is that this comes with the chronic conditions and deterioration considered to be a normal part of getting older. A subject that is popping up in social media feeds and via conference updates at the moment is "sarcopenia", age related loss of muscle mass, strength and function. 

It is estimated that we lose 1-2% of muscle function each year over the age of 50 and about 3% per year beyond 60. The consequences of this can be frailty, immobility, falls and a loss of independence. Research is also telling us that this is occurring a bit earlier for people living with HIV; the reasons are likely complex and include inflammation, lower activity levels and lifestyle factors, metabolic effects of medication, etc.

Early intervention prevents deterioration:

Lifestyle factors are key to both delaying progress and managing frailty.

Build your body! Exercise regularly to increase and preserve muscle mass

Improve the quality of your diet. Even if your appetite decreases ensure you have adequate energy intake including PROTEIN.

As we age Protein requirements increase from 0.9g/kg/day to 1.25-1.5g/kg/day (older adults).

Spread protein intake across the day as we can't metabolise it all in one go, advice is to have 25-30g at each meal.

Consider Vitamin D Deficiency also contributes to muscle wasting, follow the public health guidance on supplement intake and get your levels checked in clinic.

Vit D advice

For practical advice on lifestyle change talk to staff at the Brunswick Centre or book in to see the Dietitian in your local clinic - Huddersfield Royal, Halifax and soon in Dewsbury too.