Muscle weakness- The silent epidemic of the elderly

Aging, even in healthy elderly people, is accompanied by a reduction in muscle mass and muscle strength. The gradual loss of muscle strength (below a certain threshold) results in functional impairment and an increased risk of falling and causing fractures. Therefore, the preservation of muscle strength in the elderly is of major importance. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle weakness. To overcome this deficiency and secure your health conditions during old age, it is critical to have Vitamin D.

Falls are one of the causes of serious injury amongst the elderly. This results in difficulty in getting around.

As many as 40% of people aged 65 fall at least once a year, and up to 10% of those who fall  suffer fractures, lacerations, or head injuries.

Geriatrics can reduce their risk for serious falls by exercising regularly and taking vitamin D supplements, an expert panel now says.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force panel discovered “convincing evidence” that vitamin D supplementation can help reduce the risk of falls in people aged 65 and older.

Researchers reviewed more than 50 clinical trials to assess the benefits and harms of different strategies for preventing falls in older adults living in the community outside of nursing homes and other assisted-living centres.

 

Older patients should receive sufficient vitamin D intake from all sources to lower their risk for falls and fractures, according to a new consensus statement published online December 18 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Dietary sources, sunlight, and supplements can all contribute to vitamin D levels of around 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L), which appears to protect against fall-related injuries.

“In studies that achieved average serum levels greater than 25 ng/mL, falls and fracture rates were significantly reduced,” James Judge, MD, chair of the American Geriatrics Society’s (AGS’s) Consensus Statement on Vitamin D Supplementation for Older Adults Work Group, told Medscape Medical News.

The health and well-being of older adults depends on fall and fracture prevention. Previously independent older adults often have to enter long-term care institutions because of repeated falls, and half of all nursing home residents older than 65 years have at least a single fall annually. Hip fracture is one of the most serious consequences of an elderly person falling, as it typically leads to long-term disability, untimely nursing home admission, and premature mortality.

Calcium absorption, healthy bone density, and physical function all require adequate vitamin D levels, and calcium is also vital for bone health. In addition, low Vitamin D levels are linked to muscle weakness, loss of bone strength, and falls and fractures.

According to the recent review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, elderly people might benefit with the Vitamin D supplementation. This might lead to the decreased risk in the ailments like fractures that elderly people usually face when they often fall down.

Previous studies have exhibited to show the link between prolonged Vitamin D deficiency and muscle weakness, often leading to disability. Intake of Vitamin D over a period of time might aid to rectify such problems. Around 349 elderly people who suffered from poor muscle strength were studied. These people had significant lower amounts of Vitamin D as compared to the elder people without these problems.

Another study was performed wherein with a treatment of Vitamin D for six months in an elderly Vitamin D deficient women showed improved knee strength.

Calcium absorption, healthy bone density, and physical function all require adequate vitamin D levels, and calcium is also vital for bone health. In addition, low Vitamin D levels are linked to muscle weakness, loss of bone strength, and falls and fractures.

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