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#John S Teague

Is a loss of strength, mobility, and functionality an inevitable part of aging? No, it's not. It's a consequence of disuse, suboptimal hormone levels, dietary and nutrient considerations and other variables, all of which are compounded by aging. One of the greatest threats to an aging adult's ability to stay healthy and functional is the steady loss of lean body mass - muscle and bone in particular.

The medical term for the loss of muscle is sarcopenia, and it's starting to get the recognition it deserves by the medical and scientific community. For decades, that community has focused on the loss of bone mass (osteoporosis), but paid little attention to the loss of muscle mass commonly seen in aging populations. Sarcopenia is a serious healthcare and social problem that affects millions of aging adults. This is no exaggeration. As one researcher recently stated:

"Even before significant muscle wasting becomes apparent, ageing is associated with a slowing of movement and a gradual decline in muscle strength, factors that increase the risk of injury from sudden falls and the reliance of the frail elderly on assistance in accomplishing even basic tasks of independent living. Sarcopenia is recognized as one of the major public health problems now facing industrialized nations, and its effects are expected to place increasing demands on public healthcare systems worldwide" (Lynch, 2004)

Sarcopenia and osteoporosis are directly related conditions, one often following the other. Muscles generate the mechanical stress required to keep our bones healthy; when muscle activity is reduced it exacerbates the osteoporosis problem and a vicious circle is established, which accelerates the decline in health and functionality.

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