Elderly Falls and Fractures from Sarcopenia: Diagnosis and Prevention

Muscle loss and aging typically go hand in hand. As people age, they naturally suffer a loss of physical muscle and mass. Weakened muscles and diminished strength are frequently the cause of elderly falls and fractures.

When muscles start to lose their overall form and function from aging, the disorder is referred to as sarcopenia. Researchers at the University of Southampton have found that between the ages of 40 and 80 the body suffers a significant decline in muscle mass of between 30 to 60 percent. Unsurprisingly, this loss in muscle and strength contributes to frailty and poor health in the elderly.

University of Southampton’s Professor Sian Robinson further states, “Poor diets and being physically inactive are common in older age. Understanding the benefits of maintaining sufficient levels of physical activity and diet quality to prevent sarcopenia is therefore a priority.”

elderly falls

Senior citizens who are experiencing a loss of muscle mass can curb that loss and prevent falls by getting more physical activity (such as low-impact water aerobics, lightweight strength training, or walking) and eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. Though this is not a cure-all approach to sarcopenia, it can certainly help slow the degeneration of muscle strength.

In addition, a clear fall assessment should be undertaken by healthcare professionals to determine an elderly person’s risk of falling. The International Working Group on Sarcopenia (IWGS) offers a definition of sarcopenia to help identify elderly individuals who may suffer from a fall or fracture due to muscle loss, according to the Official Journal of the Italian Society of Orthopaedics and Medicine. The sarcopenia definition is based on assessing the person’s physical performance and muscle mass. Once an assessment has been made, physicians can focus treatment on preventing muscle loss and improving the strength of existing muscles, in order to prevent elderly falls from occurring.

At David York Agency, we understand the many challenges and risks faced by the aging and elderly and are dedicated to providing care to support them through all of those ups and down. Our team of home healthcare providers can assist with everything from preparing healthy meals and helping maintain personal hygiene to providing safe escorting to appointments and ensuring upkeep of the home.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.