Falls in older age are particularly dangerous as they can contribute to a slew of health problems. Sadly, the older you become, the higher your risk of falls.
Another big health concern is muscle weakness – or sarcopenia – which affects between five to 13 percent of older adults. This number may jump to about 50 percent of those over the age of 80. Having sarcopenia is a large risk factor for falls.
Research findings suggest that older adults who are overweight may be at a higher risk for muscle weakness and falls. The findings suggest that being overweight and having weak muscles – known as sarcopenic obesity – reduces the ability to physically function, which increases the risk of falls.
The researchers suggest that it’s important that doctors identify patients who are overweight with sarcopenia so that early intervention can take place.
The researchers specifically looked at the effects of sarcopenia and obesity on older women by reviewing data collected from over 160,000 women who were followed for over 15 years. The researchers looked specifically at data of 11,020 postmenopausal women.
The researchers concluded that postmenopausal women of Hispanic/Latin descent are at highest risk falls related to sarcopenic obesity. Women younger than 65 who were postmenopausal also experienced a high risk.
The researchers concluded that physicians need to develop solutions for aging adults who are at a higher risk for muscle weakness, obesity, and falls in order to reduce occurrences of falls. Many of these factors can be controlled through healthy diet and regular physical activity to support strong muscles, aid in weight loss, and improve balance.
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