“Dance until you drop.” as one famous line says. The aging process is one that can be challenging, but doesn’t have to be.
As first scientifically proposed by a German biologist Dr. August Weismann, the body is like a mechanical system that is going to break down with use over the years. The wear and tear theory of aging asserts the effects of aging causes progressive damage to the body cells over time until it functions less than the normal.
In the medical field, the legally elderly age is 65 years old. From this age, a person can experience several body changes. Amongst all these are joint body pain and symptoms associated with illnesses of hypertension, diabetes, etc.
Accompanying the aging process may be a gradual decrease in muscle mass and strength. Functional impairment can be a result of putting some risks to older adults.
Causes of leg weakness in the elderly
- Sarcopenia. It is a degenerative condition associated with aging where muscle mass gradually declines, resulting in muscle weakness of the extremities. Physically inactive people tend to lose muscle mass by 3-5%. The elderly have the highest risk of acquiring this condition, and it is one of the most causes of incidents of falls and fractures among older adults.
- Vitamin D deficiency. Older people would likely develop Vitamin D deficiency due to decreased dietary intake, diminished sunlight exposure, reduced skin thickness, impaired intestinal absorption, and impaired hydroxylation in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D is proving to develop muscle strength among the elderly.
- Inflammation. The body typically responds to a reconstruction of the damaged cells right after an injury. Chronic inflammatory illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are believed to decreased muscle mass and leg weakness.
- Diabetes and Hypertension. These two medical conditions can lessen blood perfusion in the body. Diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy damaging the nerves in the legs and feet while hypertension can increase blood pressure in the arteries of the extremities, causing leg weakness.
Effects of leg weakness
● Risk of falls and fracture. Handrails all over the bathroom are needed to reduce any injury to the elderly. We can use assistive devices like walkers to prevent damage as well.
● Functional impairment. Muscle weakness and fatigue are a result of limited mobility. A caregiver can help assist an elderly cope with daily activities.
Preventing leg weakness
- Exercise the legs. The sit to stand chair exercise works well for seniors with weak legs and allows them to improve their balance. Participate in a simple daily routine activity to eliminate too much of physical inactivity.
- Control your weight. Weight gain can affect joints of the legs. The more overweight you are, the higher the risk of developing osteoarthritis and leg weakness.
- Elevate legs. It can promote good circulation among the rest of the body and prevents swelling. Elevating the legs by putting a small pillow can ease tired feet.
- Vitamin D supplement. The recommended supplement of vitamin D for the elderly is 1000 IU/day. It can lessen not only muscle problems but also the risk of cardiac illnesses.f
- The right diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables, including berries and green leafy veggies. Meat and fish products also provide protein for muscle improvement.