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5 Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System

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Wrinkles, gray hair, and other changes related to aging are pretty much unavoidable. To some extent, this is also true of how aging can affect bones, joints, and muscles. Changes of this nature can seriously impact quality of life for older adults. The five ways aging affects the musculoskeletal system are discussed below, along with tips for what can be done for each one.

1.Arthritis

The CDC estimates just over 50 million Americans have some type of arthritis, an inflammatory condition that tends to affect older adults most often. Arthritis can affect muscles by causing tissues to swell, which can irritate joints and make movement painful. Bones can be affected by added stress as well if joints are less flexible. Arthritis isn’t reversible, but seniors can reduce the risk of developing it by:

• Keeping muscles, joints, and bones strong with regular exercise
• Eating berries, whole grains, fatty fish, and other foods that naturally ease inflammation
• Maintaining a healthy weight

2. Diminished Muscle Mass & Bone Density

After the age of 50, bone loss often occurs faster than bone formation. Bone loss also tends to accelerate around the time of menopause for older women. Age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) can also affect seniors and place added stress on bones and joints. Changes of this nature may be offset by:

• Eating more calcium-rich foods
• Getting enough vitamin D, since this nutrient helps with muscle- and bone-building processes
• Focusing on strength-building exercises
• Getting more sleep to help the body efficiently form new bone and muscle tissue

By making positive lifestyle choices, especially eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly, many older adults can delay the impacts of aging. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare. Kingwood, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

3 .An Inactive Lifestyle

What’s referred to as “bone wastage” can occur if seniors gradually become less active, which sometimes happens due to limited mobility or changes in lifestyle. This is often a correctable issue, since there are many productive and enjoyable ways seniors can stay active enough to promote optimal bone, joint, and muscle health. For instance, water aerobics allows core muscle groups to be targeted in a way that’s easier on joints and bones.

4. Increased Joint Stiffness

Over time, lubricating fluid in joints naturally decreases, which can contribute to joint stiffness and affect range of motion and mobility. The added stiffness in joints can make muscles work harder, which can result in tissue swelling and pain. This type of stiffness and inflammation can also place added pressure on spinal bones. Seniors may be able to reduce the overall impact of these changes with regular stretching routines, sufficient hydration, and exercises that target core muscle groups.

Stiffer joints are only one of many age-related conditions older adults may experience. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.

5.Reduced Circulation

The National Institutes o Health notes blood flow can slow down with age. Sustained blood flow is important because it’s what delivers beneficial nutrients to bones, joints, and muscles. Seniors may also have issues with circulation because of underlying conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Exercise is one way to naturally increase circulation. Drinking more water, managing stress, cutting back on alcohol, and having massage therapy can also be beneficial for this purpose. 

Severe musculoskeletal issues can make it difficult for aging adults to handle the basic activities of daily living on their own. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Kingwood, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 832-412-1345.