Muscle loss can be a debilitating problem that requires the assistance of a home health care worker. Many seniors are faced with this condition, and researchers have been trying to close in on some of the causes. Now, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, a fat molecule called ceramide may have something to do with the condition in older adults.
The researchers suggest that the tissue builds up in older adults' skeletal muscles, and it could lead to muscle deterioration.
"Although it is well known that fat tissue replaces some of our muscle tissue as we grow older, we are seeking to understand whether some fat molecules are more damaging to muscle than others," said Dr. Roger A. Fielding, senior author and director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory. "We suspect that the increased storage of ceramide we saw in the older men, exacerbated by the presence of saturated fat, has a part in weakening the anabolic signaling that responds to resistance exercises and helps with the assembly of new muscle."
The study's authors looked at 10 men who were in their mid-70s and nine men in their early 20s. None of the participants were overweight or experienced any chronic health problems. The study's authors asked them to participate in three sets of ten repetitions of knee extensions and leg presses.
The study's authors found that levels of ceramide molecules were much higher in the older participants than the younger ones. The researchers point out that the molecules are linked to a loss of leg muscle mass.
Loss of muscle strength can be difficult to deal with in old age. However, there are ways to combat it. According to research out of Conventry University, caffeine can boost power in elderly muscles, helping them retain their strength and decreasing their chances of experiencing a fall.
"With the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle to preserve health and functional capacity, the performance-enhancing benefit of caffeine could prove beneficial in the aging population," said researcher Jason Tallis.
Additionally, home health care workers can assist their patients by encouraging them to do exercises. This way, the senior will be able to build up their endurance and protect themselves from potential injury.
Residential Home Health is a leading provider of in-home nursing and therapy care throughout Michigan and Illinois. In addition to home health care, Residential’s continuum of care includes Residential Hospice and Healthy Living Medical Supply. If you are interested in learning more about the home care services Residential provides, please call 866-902-4000 or visit www.residentialhomehealth.com.