Increased life expectancy is already a reality. Expert shares how to make it to the golden years with quality of life

City News Sheet | 02/22/2020
Fonte: City News Sheet
Around 30% of elderly people over the age of 60 suffer from sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, strength and performance. The good news is that this ailment can be mitigated or postponed with simple precautions throughout life.
 
"We naturally start losing muscle mass around the age of 30, but the rate of this loss and the impact it has on the patient's quality of life are directly linked to the amount of lean mass in the body: the less lean mass we have, the higher the risk," said Dr. Roberto Miranda, cardiologist and geriatrician.
 
According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2018, Brazilian life expectancy at birth is increasing every year, currently at 72 for men and 79 for women, apart from the increasingly common sight of people celebrating their 100th birthday. But these numbers are even higher when looking at individual age groups. Also according to the IBGE, for example, a 60-year-old woman will live another 22.9 years on average, surpassing the life expectancy rate at birth.
 
A lot has been said about whether the country is ready to care for these people, but not nearly as much thought is put into whether the population itself is getting ready to live longer and better. 
 
According to Dr. Roberto Miranda, people with little lean mass become "weak", and this could be further aggravated by an acute disease. For example, an elderly person with a good amount o lean mass tends to recover better from pneumonia, since the body uses this resource to speed up the recovery process. After stabilizing from the disease, there is still enough mass left for the patient to recover and resume his/her routine. That is not the case for elderly patients with little lean mass. They have higher chances of dying or becoming dependent, since their bodies may not have enough strength to fully recover from illness.
 
"Another problem is the loss of bone tissue and mass (osteoporosis) – also very common and leads to a higher risk of fractures, which are extremely difficult to handle and recover from," said the geriatrician.
 
According to the Brazilian Health Department, approximately 10 million Brazilians suffer from osteoporosis, which is the cause of 1 million fractures every year. These serious issues can be mitigated (or postponed) with simple changes to everyday life: having an active lifestyle, which means at least 5,000 steps per day or a half-hour walk; balanced diet, not restricting food types, but reducing the intake of foods that are not healthy; emotional balance, in order to avoid the consequences of smaller problems; avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and not smoking.
 
Supplements are also important to provide the body with the essential nutrients it needs whenever these nutrients are not part of the standard diet. A classic example is the ingestion of proteins, which is often below the daily recommended amount. Allergen-free collagen peptides are a great source of protein, such as the protein in milk, soy and gluten. An adequate and balanced combination of proteins associated to vitamins, minerals and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is essential to produce muscle mass and avoid sarcopenia.
 
In turn, an adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, K and magnesium is essential to keep bones healthy and avoid osteoporosis. Keep in mind that bones are not formed only by calcium and the intake of protein for the bones – as well as vitamin D and magnesium – is vital to ensure quality bone composition, also considering the role of vitamin K2 as a calcium carrier for bones, keeping it from accumulating in arteries and kidneys. It is also important to note that there are different sources of calcium, and that Calcium Citrate Malate is among the calcium compounds that is best absorbed by our bodies – with an absorption rate nearly 2 times greater than calcium carbonate.
 
A balanced diet – either through regular nutritional diets or supplemented diets – and regular physical activity are the key to ensuring our bodies can respond effectively to usual needs, which in turn leads to a healthier and longer aging process.
 
"None of these things are easy to accomplish, but the results are evident and supported by countless studies." So, my tip for everyone is "stop procrastinating". No matter how old you are, start making a difference today," said Dr. Roberto Miranda.
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