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Menopause: Making Peace With Change

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Did You Realize How Fast You Lose Muscle Mass With Aging?



Skin wrinkles due to collagen loss and loss of the fat of our skin is very visible and a known consequence of menopause. We naturally lose 30% of the dermal collagen in our skin as we transition through menopuase, and we dramatically loose our muscle mass as well. Sarcopenia is the medical term for muscle mass loss. Aging, illness, lack of exercise and poor nutrition produces muscle loss as much as bone loss. Muscle mass decreases about 3% per year after menopause and by age 80 you have lost about 50% of your muscles. Actually true muscle strength loss proceeds at half that rate. So we lose muscles faster than we lose overall muscle strength. We don’t know why this is it seems to be a scientific controversy that is not yet solved by may be related to various cardiovascular issues. It is also thought that immune system dysfunction, changes in our metabolism as we age, or changes in our nutrient intake cause this overall loss of strength due to muscle mass deterioration. Poor diet habits in women are a big contributor. Very rapid weight loss without exercise will burn muscle more preferentially than fat, which is why most nutrition experts shun those very rapid weight loss plans. Interestingly the same treatments, life style interventions, and nutritional strategies that preserve bone mass and bone health also preserve muscle mass and muscle health.

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