What is muscle loss?
Muscle loss, known as muscle atrophy, occurs when muscle fibers shrink and protein breakdown exceeds protein synthesis. This leads to a decrease in muscle mass and strength over time if not addressed.
Some key points about muscle loss include:
- It can happen with aging due to hormonal changes and decreased activity levels. As we get older, muscles lose strength, mass and function.
- Diseases like cancer, kidney disease, AIDS, diabetes can accelerate muscle loss. These conditions impair the body's ability to effectively use protein and calories.
- Immobility from hospitalization, injuries can trigger rapid muscle loss of up to 2% per day from not using the muscles. Bed rest diminishes protein synthesis.
- Inadequate nutrition - Insufficient calorie, protein or vitamin intake can contribute to muscle breakdown. Consuming enough macronutrients is crucial.
- Muscle loss decreases strength, metabolism, and impairs daily function over time. Building aged lost muscle is difficult but possible.
How to prevent muscle loss
- Engage in progressive resistance weight training 2-3x a week to build muscle mass by increasing your ability to lift more weight.
- Do regular cardio and flexibility exercises to increase blood flow and range of motion.
- Eat 0.5-1 gram protein per pound of body weight daily from food sources like meat, eggs and whey protein.
- Take supplements like creatine monohydrate, HMB, or testosterone which assist muscle protein synthesis.
- Get adequate sleep and manage stress as high cortisol causes muscle breakdown.
In summary, muscle loss is characterized by a reduction in fiber size and protein content. Combining resistance training, proper nutrition, and lifestyle management can counteract muscle loss. Seeking medical advice can help diagnose underlying causes like illness or hormone issues. Maintaining muscle is crucial for mobility, metabolism and health.