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As the world becomes busier with all the things we need to do – from personal errands to professional jobs- we also experience different health issues. All these can be alleviated with the help of proper ergonomics and a healthy lifestyle. One of the conditions that some of us may not be familiar with yet is sarcopenia – a condition where a severe loss of muscle mass is experienced. Find out how your work can increase the possibility of having sarcopenia and learn the tips to prevent it.
Sarcopenia is a syndrome described by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. It is primarily correlated with a physical disability, low quality of life, and even death. The lack of physical activity, age, and gender are the common risk factors for sarcopenia
According to Healthline.com, sarcopenia refers to the loss of muscle mass due to aging. As we age, it is usual for us to lose some muscle mass. However, in some cases, muscle mass loss is severe and may lead to some adverse health conditions.
"Sarcopenia affects your gait, balance, and overall ability to perform daily tasks. For a long time, researchers have believed that this deterioration was inevitable. But they're now beginning to look into treatments that might prevent or slow down this process."
This health condition can affect our health and work performance.
"People with sarcopenia often experience weakness and lose stamina. This can affect their ability to carry out physical activities. A reduction in an activity then leads to further muscle mass loss", Healthline added.
WebMD stated that sarcopenia usually occurs faster around the age of 75. However, with the many factors that can contribute to its risks, it can happen to younger adults, too.
"Symptoms can include weakness and loss of stamina, which can interfere with physical activity. Reduced activity further shrinks muscle mass. Although sarcopenia is seen mostly in people who are inactive, the fact that it also occurs in people who stay physically active suggests there are other factors in its development", as mentioned in a part of a WebMD article.
According to WebMD, other conditions are related to how sarcopenia occurred:
- reduced concentrations of growth hormones
- certain decrease in the ability to convert protein into the energy
- reduction of nerve cells that have the function of sending signals from the brain going to the muscles
- inability to acquire enough protein or calories to maintain muscle mass
Healthline.com shared the same causes of sarcopenia. The renowned health and medical website mentioned that a typical cause of sarcopenia is reduced physical activities all throughout the day. However, there are cases that even people with an active lifestyle can still be diagnosed with sarcopenia.
Medical News Today mentioned:
"The loss of muscle mass involves both a reduction in the number of muscle fibers and a decrease in their size. The combination of fewer and smaller muscle fibers causes the muscles to atrophy or shrink."
The website also stated that as an individual gets older, the body's capacity to produce proteins for the muscles starts to decline. When the production of this protein falls, the muscle cells get smaller.
The most common symptoms of sarcopenia are the following:
- lack of endurance
- poor balance
- reduced muscle size
- having trouble while climbing the stairs
- lack of stamina
- an inability to perform daily tasks
It is vital to be aware of sarcopenia's causes and symptoms to do some ways on how to prevent this from getting worse.
Your work can contribute to being at risk for sarcopenia. Here are some ways how your job can increase the risk of sarcopenia:
#1 Keeping a sedentary lifestyle at work.
Some jobs are done while sitting, even for long hours. Such work can lead to little or no physical activities regularly. This is because you can be too focused on your job or choose to stay seated while working on your desk. The habit of sitting all day at work can be dangerous to your health. Sitting is known to cause diseases such as musculoskeletal disorders, muscle pain, back pain, neck pain, and posture-related issues. It can also be a risk of having sarcopenia because you're living a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of movement can hinder the body to stay active and perform its functions effectively.
To help yourself get rid of the sedentary lifestyle, you should apply proper ergonomics in the workplace. For instance, you can use standing desks and desk converters to shift from sitting to standing easily. This will keep you active, even while working.
#2 Poor nutrition
Proper nutrition helps the body to stay healthy and work efficiently. Health experts revealed that poor dietary habits could lead to the development of sarcopenia. Lack of proper nutrition can possibly affect people at any age but is more often to adults. Working individuals must stay healthy and productive at work. An unhealthy body can put a person prone to early muscle degeneration, so proper nutrition is recommended.
#3 Stress at work
Stress in the workplace is one of the problems that can impact one's performance at work. Stress can be physical, emotional, and mental triggers that can result in loss of interest at work, fatigue, and other health issues. When stress overwhelms a person, the impact can be adverse. It can also heighten the risk of a sedentary lifestyle that can lead to heightened sarcopenia cases.
#4 Poor posture
Poor posture can also contribute to sarcopenia. Published research in 2020 mentioned the following:
"Sarcopenia is also considered the main contributor to musculoskeletal impairments, such as dysfunction of muscle innervation and neuronal muscle control. These finally influence postural maintenance, and performing functional activities requiring strength for balance and postural control becomes problematic."
The same research also stated that sarcopenia is a syndrome usually described by the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, muscle strength, and muscle quality and the primary contributor to musculoskeletal disorders in the elderly.
You can read this post about how posture can affect productivity and overall health.
Sarcopenia is a health condition that can affect a person's health and work performance. The major treatment for this is an exercise that will focus on strength and resistance training. These exercises aim to build muscle strength and endurance. Other therapies include growth hormone supplements and medicines for metabolic syndrome, hypertension, obesity, and other musculoskeletal disorders.