Optimal diabetes care involves eating healthy balanced meals, staying active, and following your healthcare provider’s suggested medicine regimen. As you get older, these tasks may be harder to do because of vision problems and a loss of lean muscle that can make being active more difficult. A recent study has found that older adults who are less mobile may be at higher risk for diabetes.
About lean mass and aging
The lean mass found in your body helps you to stay strong, perform your daily tasks, and stay fit. As you age, your lean muscle mass starts to decrease. This process is called sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is a process that:
- you can delay, but cannot stop once it begins
- can make worse if you are inactive and have a poor diet.
- can cause you to be less mobile over time if you do not seek therapy or make healthy lifestyle changes.
Those older adults who are in and out of the hospital due to chronic disease and other conditions have a greater risk of lean muscle mass loss due to:
- stress on the body,
- poor eating habits while ill,
- long periods of being inactive.
In turn, lean muscle mass loss can make it harder to care for yourself and, in turn, can put you at greater risk for further health problems.
A study of older adults looked at the effect of being less mobile on the risk of diabetes. It was found that those who were mildly less mobile were far more likely to develop diabetes. Older adults who were severely disabled were nearly two-thirds more likely to develop diabetes than those who were not disabled.
So what does this study mean for me?
Eating well and staying active is not just about lowering your risk of chronic disease, such as diabetes. Living healthy is about keeping your body strong by preserving your lean muscle mass so you can continue to take care of yourself in your golden years. Only then will you truly be strong enough inside and out to prevent diabetes.