Britain debates 3-parent babies and mitochondria

When we talk about nature and nurture in child rearing, nature meant mom and dad’s genes. What happens when a third party is introduced? That is what Britain is beginning to debate. It can stir a lot of feelings about traditional and progressive marriages. New concepts and biological research seem to point to mitochondria cellular components that help bring energy to different cells.

The long hope of British scientists is to help eliminate mitochondrial diseases that can result in nerve, brain, muscle, and organ diseases. The debate rides on many traditional and progressive issues. Based on theories and research, testing the effect of using a 3-parent baby with an extra sample of mitochondria may take generations to foresee a reasonable outcome. Then again, can science be inadvertently producing a class of monsters?

The British aren’t the only ones targeting mitochondria alterations at a genetic level. The United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA is pondering implications. The scope of questons include how genes are transmitted through subsequent generations.

As one of the countries offering nationwide health insurance, Britain’s stake is more than bottom-line economics. People with mitochondrial diseases are significant burdens to the nation’s insurance budget. Finding a way to reduce incidences is a good long-term investment for Britain, beyond moral indignation.

USA has no such program. Funding can be an economic disaster. With about 100 years as a gap for successful return, it is a risky long-term investment. There’s more study needed on mitochondria and how, when and why they mutate. As a business, can quality control be assured? How will research and clinical evaluations be studied with no or limited insurance policies? Is it profitable? Many US businesses that championed progress in the 1900’s are no longer around. Can USA rely that current champions will be around to see the results of 3-baby parenting?

The scientific goal is a noble one. Three-parent babies are human offspring with three genetic parents, created through a specialized form of in-vitro fertilization The future baby’s mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party. The procedure is intended to prevent mitochondrial diseases including muscular dystrophy and some heart and liver conditions that currently disable offspring with disabling conditions.

Essentially, nurture is a 2-parent baby. Nature is still 2 parents but with sperm from a “healthy” donor. You don’t have to change your bedroom furniture. The 3-parent baby is a choice of several options. At its early stage, it’s exciting and bringing mitochondria into the forefront as a means of fighting or preventing mitochondrial diseases.

Mitochondria are important aspects of a cell that theoretically account for 90% of the energy required to sustain cellular health. What can happen when the mitochondria fail? Diseases of the mitochondria appear to cause the most damage to cells of the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the endocrine and respiratory systems. Mitochondria are associated as powerhouses of genetic material within cells. They help provide energy to your entire body. It’s simple but, at the same time, mitochondrial disease can effect all of use to certain degrees.

Conventional biology instruction associates mitochondria at cellular levels but recent research cite evidence that it is oversimplified. It takes about 3000 genes to make a mitochondrion. Mitochondrial DNA encodes just 37 of these genes.Mitochondrial diseases are the result of either inherited or spontaneous mutations within different aspects of DNA which lead to altered functions of the proteins or RNA molecules that normally reside in mitochondria. Mitochondria are also associated for cholesterol metabolism, for estrogen and testosterone synthesis, for neurotransmitter metabolism, and for free radical production and detoxification. Cellular roles in transmitting genetic diseases seem a little more complicated than a crap shoot. In the human condition, diet and health management may be fighting the norms of your cells.

The North American Mitochondrial Disease Consortium or NAMDC is one of several research institutes that study the many roles that mitochondria play behind disabling diseases that can span lifetimes. Over a couple years, Britain scientists have been developing research and techniques to produce the first 3-parent babies as a revolution betting on healthier outcomes. As with all revolutions and research results, it is a role of dice type of gambling.

The stakes are high. Responsible parents often debate about having children when development or neuro and muscular diseases are in their lineage. Birthing babies with autism, muscular dystrophy, and others pose incredible stress to parents and growing children as they attempt to cope with disabilities in a very able world.

Equally disruptive is that some of these mitochondrial glitches may remain dormant through a life-span and attack adults at many ages. This can be equally shocking and often misdiagnosed by medical specialists. Many of these mitochondrial myopathies introduce vast symptoms that take normal people into tunnels of greater challenges, with no available cure.

The gamble of theories that challenge traditional thought of the etiologies of many diseases may actually be results of this gelatinous material that resides in each and every human cell.

For those suffering with neuropathies, myopathies, and countless other diseases that may benefit from 3-parent baby research, the results are of a very long range. We are counting on better statistics from future generations. Further mitochondrial research may result with better treatments for current diseases but is more hope than fact.

Faiths who have lost political struggles with homosexual marriages might see 3-parent babies as further affronts to religious traditions. The thought of a 3-parent baby does seem puzzling in battling something that causes mitochondrial disease. There are choices of pre-natal testing to discover whether your baby has mitochondrial disease. At that point, you might choose to abort the child. The Right to Life movement hotly debates this choice. For all god’s miracles, there are the victims.

Yet…if 3-parent baby research can play roles to route selective, healthy mitochondria and effectively reduce mitochondrial diseases, this may be a great thing. Research has a target to fund. The rest are matters of hopes and prayers.

Scientific reason is questionably noble. Many experiments, however, are like quixotic battles with dragons in search of a holy grail. Mitochondria and 3-parent babies may or may not partner with positive conclusions. In successive generations, there may be more invasive dilemmas facing humanity than mitochondrial disease. Or mitochondrial disease may be more pervasive. Is it a roll of the dice? Either the fictional Frankenstein or the majestic hero awaits. Beyond dreams lie answers that we may not live to realize. There are other choices to control mitochondria diseases and we may want to deal with their moral implications before jumping into newer, possibly consequential technologies.

ToeOFF Walk Aide is for New Balance

Imagine, if you will, that a child or adult is stricken by an event that leaves muscles inactive. There is loss of movement and, with it, losses of freedom. New technologies and research are helping mobility challenged to meet those extra challenges that bring more than the sense of normal movement. We are talking 21st-century ways to help you move much better than you’ve dreamed.

Muscular Dystrophies, ALS and Multiple Sclerosis are leading diseases that immobilize patients. There are also conditions due to compressed or damaged nerves as results of development, accidents, and war. When nerves and muscles can’t evoke action potentials to stimulate movement, you are unable to move. There are many levels of research to infer causes and effects. Biochemistry has thus far been leading symptom control. Over the past 20 years, giant strides have developed technological devices that can help promote movement, albeit better movement than none. There are perhaps only a few million people in the USA where chronic immobilization is a symptom. New tech research is helping those walk forward.

Immobilization may often occur in the mind but many suffer immobility from muscle weakness to severe paralysis. Those with spinal cord injuries may become permanently paraplegic with the inability to move their legs at all but new studies with electrical impulses can help carve ways to mobilize the immobile of body. For those with weak leg muscles, pushing walkers or using wheelchairs and scooters are the common ways of finding mobility. Precious few seek out trying to walk with braces. Braces are changing. They are no longer clunky and heavy. ToeOFF is a leading orthosis that you fit in your shoe. For those who have a form of ankle weakness, ToeOFF offers dynamic mechanical devices that help people walk more naturally. In recent years, alternate technologies, such as Functional Electric Stimulation of nerves have been emerging (FES). Is there attractive hope toward mobilizing the immobile?

Until FES experiments began in the late 1990’s, if you couldn’t walk you used a cane or crutch for support. In more severe cases, you might have used a wheelchair or would have been bedridden and constantly dependent on others.

In the mid twentieth century during the polio epidemics, leather and steel leg-braces were quite a common sight. A Persian, in the 15th century, first described the coating of plaster for fractures and other bony injuries of the limb. By the 17th century, there were braces for those who could not walk but they were heavy and cumbersome. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was stricken with polio and used braces to stand when making speeches. They were those heavy leather and steel contraptions that were difficult to put-on and take-off. His braces were extremely difficult to use. In recent years, uses of aluminum and carbon fibers make braces lighter. Adjustable rubber and/or Velcro straps make them easier to adjust. AA Swedish designed brace, sold in USA as ToeOFF, is a prescription brace that helps certain people walk better and more comfortably.

Allard ToeOFF is known as a dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis, often referred as an AFO that aid those people that have muscular weakness from the muscle groups that disable ankles to move up and down. The result is foot drag. ToeOFF using a lightweight, mechanical carbon-fiber device that helps restore a more normal walking gait. It’s a great device and helps many people with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, neuropathies, and myopathies that are aware of ToeOFF and the availability of the ToeOFF line and the use of other dynamic AFO devices.

ToeOFF is an appliance that allows people to easily put on and fit into different types of shoes. It is a lightweight, supportive brace specifically designed to correctly position feet for walking without foot drop. It covers the symptoms attributed to weaknesses in dorsiflexion of the ankle. Dorsiflexion problems may come from acute or chronic conditions. ToeOFF is a non-electric device that acts as a dynamic brace that normalizes the way you walk when a group of muscles don’t allow that seemingly simple action. Foot Drop is a relatively common problem among people of all ages but is also a symptom of nerve and muscle diseases. It can disable walking. ToeOFF is a prescription brace that helps facilitate “normal” walking (within degrees and limits) in those people with dorsiflexion from weak muscles.

ToeOFF has become a great aid for people with diseases where dorsiflexion is a symptom. Where other muscles are not as weak, ToeOFF is a fantasy device that helps people with muscle diseases walk. For overcoming the challenges of biped walking, ToeOFF really offers an alternative to some from being confined to a wheelchair or scooter.

Science fiction sometimes becomes reality and neurokinetic and neuromuscular researchers have more avenues and tools with which to explore how to stimulate movement and mobility for many muscle group problems. Of course, many studies are too small to deliver impact. Through various independent resources, including injured veterans from recent and ongoing Asian wars, there has been a drive to test electrical impulses as means of preventing pain and restoring movement. It seems like fantasy but small steps are being realized every day. For some, small steps bring large results.

Stimulating muscle movement to enable the motion-challenged to find motion is now being experimented with as a means to help people walk. The principle isn’t a new one. About 300 years ago, Luigi Galvani at the University of Bologna in Italy. He realized that if he sent an electric impulse at the lower spine of a frog, the frog’s legs would twitch. Similar experiments helped Galvani create neurophysiology as a study of how nerves can activate muscles in the body.

Galvani’s studies transitioned to studies of stress. In law enforcement, a Galvanic Skin Response in the hand helps determine whether a person may be telling the truth or not. The skin conductance response, also known as the electrodermal response (and in older terminology as “galvanic skin response”), is the phenomenon that the skin momentarily becomes a better conductor of electricity when either external or internal stimuli occur that are physiologically arousing. It occurs in the fight or flight response at the root of placing the body on stress alert.

A Superman on screen, actor Christopher Reeve suffered virtually total paralysis after a spinal injury. The Christopher Reeve Foundation offered grants (in the last decade) to study Functional Electrical Stimulation of nerve tissue to help induce movement. Functional Electrical Stimulation applies small electrical pulses to paralyzed muscles to restore or improve their function. FES is commonly used for exercise, but also to assist with breathing, grasping, transferring, standing and walking. FES can help some to improve bladder and bowel function. There’s evidence that FES helps reduce the frequency of pressure sores.

For research, FES is extremely valid when FES is used with a functional task such as walking, cycling, or grasping objects for a number of rehabilitative purposes and across differing diagnoses. FES has demonstrated the capacity for strengthening muscles enhancing circulation and blood flow, reducing pain, and retarding muscular atrophy.

In 2001, Case Western Reserve University, Department of Veterans Affairs, developed an intramuscular implanted system that activates the hip, knee, and trunk muscles to facilitate ambulation. At the time, the problems of electrode integrity in addition to adjusting the wavelength and amplitude signal measurements demonstrated promise.

Over the years, Federal Drug Administration worked at approving several devices that could provide enhanced results. Bioness L300 Plus adds a thigh component that facilitates knee extension and adds stability during walking as well. Other similar peroneal nerve (associated with the muscles that cause foot drop) stimulators commercially available are the WalkAide System and the Odstock devices. These systems have demonstrated long-term improvement in walking skills for persons with stroke as well as persons with multiple sclerosis and, possibly, other (thus far) incurable muscular diseases.

Alas, the rub is that virtually all these disabling diseases and conditions have no cure. Devices like ToeOFF and FES help the immobilized meet the challenges of moving. When you’re immobile or paralyzed, the facility of movement is like a light from the sky, even if only a short one.

The AFO and FES devices available for public use have been approved by medical agencies and federal groups like the FDA. This doesn’t mean that there are no side effects and contraindications as patients use them. While ToeOFF and WalkAide (and similar devices) are approved for certain conditions, each individual may be affected uniquely. Improvements may be individual specific and may not likely be generalized to work equally for a general population.

FES seems to be laying the groundwork toward the future of orthosis and. thankfully, there are products that offer advanced alternatives to the AFO. As relatively new, and somewhat unknown through the medical profession, FES is still somewhat expensive and most insurances do not cover use of a device like WalkAide. In addition, a pair of AFO (generally covered by insurance) may cost in the $1,000 to $2,000+ range. The WalkAide System may cost around $5,000 for a single and, a bit more, for a pair. Often these conditions may affect both left and right legs. Poverty and lack of adequate health insurance for those disabled by chronic nerve and muscle diseases. The merits of these prosthetics, however, could be life-changing to those afflicted by conditions.

In cases like multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy, understanding the etiology (causes) of the disease dynamics and causes is extremely important. Dorsiflexion is only one of possibly hundreds of symptoms. ToeOFF and WalkAide are examples of special devices that assist at making immobilization levels more mobile. While FES is promising for some, others may not benefit from neural electric therapies and devices.

ToeOFF and other AFO may work better with patients of muscular dystrophy and diseases of weakening muscles that are not necessarily associated with nerve damage. WalkAide may have little or no effect in those cases and, ominously, dystrophies have not been indicated to be (possibly) effective using an FES product. FES has been shown to be effective by generating electrical signals along nerve pathways and the nerves that are primarily associated at controlling muscles in certain areas. Some cases of dystrophy patients may not gain positive effects from an FES device because weakness is due to a genetic disruption of a neurotransmitter called Dystrophin and those signals may not change the efficacy of those muscles that affect foot drop and some other gait issues. That is why ToeOFF may still be the most advanced form of orthosis for muscular dystrophy patients.

Understanding those subtleties requires an integrated approach between physiatrists and rehabilitation specialists familiar with the problems behind neuromuscular conditions of different severity and sources. This is one of many reasons why ToeOFF and WalkAide are prescription products. For the most part, the etiologies of many of these conditions still require further research as well. In limited studies, however, products like ToeOFF and WalkAide remain to offer considerable help for those that can benefit by them.

ToeOFF is a partial solution and professional orthotists like David Zwicker, in conjunction with your prescribing doctor, can help patients optimize mobile functions. An AFO is an appliance and the appliance fits in a shoe, primarily a New Balance sneaker is recommended. As shoes are designed for feet and not necessarily a foot and an orthosis, the material of the shoe needs to be strong and stable enough to support it. Otherwise your balance may be compromised. You may require a wider size and may find that shoes last months instead of years. It’s a consequence that can be annoying. It’s fortunate that New Balance makes shoes with several width selections. That helps. Afflicted with moderate to severe dorsiflexion, ToeOFF helps you walk more normally than if you did not wear it. As an alternative to one of those electric wheelchairs, ToeOFF is a good device.

WalkAide does not require to be placed in a shoe. The battery powered unit may be placed anywhere on the calf around the peritoneal nerve fiber that is beneath your knee. That makes WalkAide an attractive alternative but only where nerve fibers and muscles interact with functional electrical stimulation. It may not work with patients suffering from muscular dystrophies or certain myopathies.

An orthosis, like a dynamic AFO (such as the Allard ToeOFF device) is a form of prosthetic. You might have your physical leg but the muscles related to dorsiflexion (and walking) don’t work. For the past 100 years, these prosthetics were heavy and large. While wealthy victims of Polio (i.e. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) had to learn how to use them, ToeOFF is part of a group of AFO that are light and easy to use. Neuro-prosthetics is the study and development of medical devices that replace or improve the function of damaged neuromuscular organ systems and restore normal body processes, create or improve function, and/or reduce pain.

There is no 100% solution as of yet. It is promising that technological strides are being researched to offer immobile, afflicted people some more choices at the ease of getting around. Ranges might be limited. I guess it’s better to have some mobile range than none. There is promise in better AFO and FES development as the future unfolds. At least, there is hope.

Don’t Drag your feet get your toes off

Street observations often show that quite a few people of all ages seem to drag their feet, gliding slowly on pavement. Some walk slowly, taking small steps, careful not to trip or fall. Are these people tired, weak, in pain or depressed? Sometimes all of these are in play. Emotion disorders for some may loosely involve motion disorders. This mode of walking is called Foot Drop. It is where the ankle does not elevate your foot to stride comfortably. The key to a normal and smooth gait is placed on what is called a dorsal muscle that, basically, works to get your toes off the ground. In some cases, a Toe-Off orthosis might help lift your toes off for better walking.

The ankle of each foot lies at the base of each leg as it meets the foot. It is often vulnerable to sports injuries or falls. How many kids complain about sprained ankles? How many game players have to sit through a season because of an ankle problem? Usually, these wounds heal. For others, there are diseases that chronically affect the foot. This makes walking difficult and painful. This makes walking alongside friends annoying. Most people adapt to it while others use orthotics, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. These are entirely different perspectives than those that normally walk.

The joint at which the leg meets the foot is called a dorsal joint. This connecting joint consists of bone, ligaments, and muscles. There are four muscles involved – Tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis-longus, extensor digitorum longus and fibularis tertius. The largest and most evident of these muscles is the tibialis anterior, which can be seen superficially in the front of the lower leg. Dorsiflexion involves these muscles for just a couple functions, primarily lowering and lifting the foot for walking. It also aids left/right motion for smoothness and capability of coping with hills. Dorsiflexion helps establish the toes off and toes on movements that are necessary. When dorsiflexion doesn’t function, the foot remains in a dropped position. Getting your toes off for a normal gait is virtually impossible.

There are other muscles that help the dorsal muscles function. Nearby, Plantar flexion involves lifting the whole body. These go together because the world does not exist as a straight plane and body’s weight creates all sorts of subtle adaptations to the differences of weight, angles, and voluntary movement. Because the ground constantly has variables, human feet need to adapt to smoothly interface with it swiftly on contact. In normal function and anatomical position, the ankle joint has flexion (dorsiflexion) and extension (plantar flexion). Foot draggers have a lot to do to get their toes off the ground.

For many foot draggers, a trip to a physiatrist might help deal with the problem. Some may require physical therapy to help break old habits. Others may need a prescription orthosis. The latter occurs when certain diseases chronically influence the dysfunction of the dorsal muscles. One particular orthosis for helping people get their toes off the ground is a bracing device called Toe-Off.

Toe-Off is part of a group of products, called an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO), that help replace the action of the dorsal muscles, when the muscle group has been compromised. This is common in muscular dystrophies, myopathies that can waste these muscles to the point that your foot can longer raise on its own. Toe-OFF is a new generation AFO, covered by several patents. While most AFO get your toes off and up to facilitate a more natural walking gait, and share some similarities, Toe-Off is lighter and easier.

Toe-Off is known as a dynamic AFO. It is made of a lightweight moldable carbon fiber composite material and works with various shoe types. It employs a high activity design that enables freedom of motion and allows for simulated walking that functions and appears as if you aren’t using any form of brace, with the exception of a few chronic cases. Whether custom of off-the-rack, a dynamic AFO encourages range of motion, allowing children to learn movement by moving and providing minimal support, only where the patient needs it. Scientific research on dynamic AFO devices show improved performance, though studies must be further explored.

Many AFO allow use of your own shoes. You remove the insole of the shoe, slide Toe-Off inside and then replace the insole. Most shoes aren’t adequately sized to hold your foot and an AFO. Sometimes you may find greater comfort by shifting to a wider shoe. New Balance and Dr. Comfort are recommended brands. Do not anticipate normally long wear from your shoes. Typical daily wear might be around 6 months and leather shoes should be changed every 6 weeks or so to keep it supportive (as leather stretches).

Toe-Off uses a Swedish technology that uses a carbon fiber for support or action. When worn, it does take your toes off the ground. Your walking gait is more normal.

Toe-Off resembles an over-the-calf shin guard, set in place by adjustable Velcro straps. Shoes are ties normally. It provides leg support and foot support as it aids that toes off process.

To say that use of Toe-Off will let you run marathons or play basketball is a rare exception. It helps a foot dragger with foot drop walk virtually normal. That is remarkable.

The feel of the Toe-Off is like standing on a suspended rocking chair. It rocks your foot into the appropriate position. Depending on your condition, getting up from a chair or using stairs may be a little difficult. Toe-Off primarily focuses on replacing the simple dorsal inaction that results in foot drop. Maneuvering other than walking may still be difficult or impossible. For someone who can’t walk normally, Toe-Off is a necessary option for those who want mobility without resorting to a scooter or wheelchair device.

Because even smoothly paved roads have variable surface changes, use of a cane is helpful in those cases. Many times you may not need it or use it lightly. When the walkway has cracks, embedded rocks, or other surface irregularities, that cane could be the difference from walking to falling.

A physiatrist or sports physician usually must prescribe an AFO and Toe-Off requires a prescription. It’s an expensive technological tool but is covered by many health insurances. Usually, your doctor sends you to an orthosis specialist. Prothotic Labs is a New York based progressive Prosthetic and Orthotic facility. David Zwicker is one of their specialists. He is particularly attentive to patient’s comforts in using any of these devices. While Toe-Off, for example, is an excellent product, it may need to be fitted for comfort for individualized use, Zwicker specializes in this. Developing a cordial relationship with your orthosis specialist is necessary. Finding one is crucial. An AFO is a walking mobility device that replaces poor natural muscle control. You and it must act comfortably as one.

As for support, there are 3 Toe-Off models that cover children, moderately affected adults, and severely affected adults. Due to Myotonic dystrophy (one of the muscular dystrophies) I use the Toe-Off BlueRocker pair – their offering for severe cases. It is designed for helping Footdrop from disorders such as stroke, MS, post-polio, Myelomeningocele, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular dystrophy, CMT, and forms of Neuropathy. This is my second Toe-Off AFO and I find it to be very supportive. It does require the Comfort Link accessory for extra padding around the leg.

Braces have changed a lot since the days of President Franklin Roosevelt. They help easily mobilize the otherwise immobile. Getting your toes off the ground as a means of alleviating foot drop means you have many choices to explore from exercise to using an orthosis. A dynamic AFO, like the Toe-Off family of products, may just be a possible answer. So don’t drag your feet when walking. Get your toes off and seek professional help. Treatment is often easier than you might think.

Toe-Off is not a miraculous cure for the causes of dorsiflexion. You may or may not be comfortable using it, and may not restore your walking range before your ankle disorder. Depending on the severity of your condition, Toe-Off helps provide a sense of dignity at the challenges of achieving upright mobility when walking. Many people do regress to needing scooters. It’s an acquired, adaptive taste and a quiet idea of walking using your own two feet, albeit with an AFO brace like Toe-Off. A dynamic AFO, under advisement from your physician, may help you cope with walking challenges a little differently (at least for a while). Isn’t it time to get your toes off and walking?

Normal to age and get fat with sarcopenia

Believe it or not, if you’re over 50 and are disconcerted with that tire growing around your waist, it is normal to age and get fat. There are things you can do.

There’s a crisis at getting fat as you age. Suddenly fat begins showing where it never appeared before. Sizes rise and appearance seems to enlarge in all the wrong places. The human body is made up of fat, lean tissue (muscles and organs), bones, and water. After age 30, people tend to lose lean tissue. Your muscles, liver, kidney, and other organs may lose some of their cells. This process of muscle loss is called atrophy. These changes result in changes in function and in appearance. It is normal to age and get fat but it’s very difficult or impossible to prevent. Diets may only help marginally. Atrophy has an enemy. It is activity. All those cell losses reduce your energy levels as your body gets fat.

The bulk of the population have a common disease where it is normal to age and get fat. It is called Sarcopenia and is a condition that is virtually impossible to cure. Sarcopenia affects millions of people who gradually become weak and frail as they age due to loss of muscle mass.

While not everyone has Sarcopenia, research does show that it is closely associated with the process that is normal to age and get fat. In Sarcopenia, it is the severity.

Starting and following through with an exercise program might help control the progression of fat and Sarcopenia but it won’t cure it. Sarcopenia develops rapidly with a lack of physical activity, especially the lack of overload to the muscle, as in resistance exercise. The amount of physical activity generally declines with age. Physically inactive adults will see a faster and greater loss of muscle mass than physically active adults. The problem is that the loss of muscle mass reduces the metabolic production of energy. The results include developed intolerance of exercise that is all too real. It is not fear. It is a form of myopathy.

In most myopathies, weakness occurs primarily in the muscles of the shoulders, upper arms, thighs, and pelvis (proximal muscles). The symptoms are capped by general fatigue because muscles and energy production efficiency are closely associated. Other symptoms may include aching, cramping, stiffness, tenderness, tightness, and pain.

Sarcopenia and myopathies ARE NOT always present as people get fat with age. It is normal to age and get fat and Sarcopenia or myopathy may be fundamentally associated with symptoms. That is why exercise is extremely important over age 30 for those who not have chronic diseases. such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis, among others.

There are other subtle conditions associated with weight gain. These include an underactive thyroid gland (which can also cause weight gain despite eating less, intolerance to cold, constipation and dry skin) and diabetes (other symptoms include needing to pass water more often, feeling thirsty and recurrent minor infections like boils and thrush). Several medications can also lead to tiredness – beta-blocker tablets for heart conditions and antidepressant tablets are top of the average doctor’s list. Stress often leads to tiredness, but so too can symptoms of depression. Believe it or not, among aging individuals, weight gain is a cause for depression. Depressing generally reduces activity.

In the case of coping with the symptoms of normal muscle loss, changing habits from inactive to active is extremely difficult. For most, walking can help a lot. As you get older, your metabolic rate – the rate at which your body burns energy – will probably slow. Adjust your meal size and make a resolution to do a brisk daily walk of 20-30 minutes – just a 10% loss in weight will reduce the fat inside your tummy up to 30%! That means, if you are 200 pounds, you will lose about 30% of belly fat if you reach 180. If you’re 150, you may lose 30% belly fat when you reach 135 pounds. Doing so, however, requires a persistent, gradual habits that may be contrary to your known lifestyle.

Once you get over the “work effort” associated with exercise, you will find that you feel better because the body releases endorphins that help pick you up. For most normal people, exercise makes you feel better, perform physical tasks better and reduce the risk of disability due to arthritis. It now appears that exercise – specifically, resistance training – actually rejuvenates muscle tissue in healthy senior citizens. Resistance training doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym and hoisting weights. There are rubber stretch bands. They are normally called Therabands and are used by many physical therapists. Like walking, these exercises must be approached in graduated steps.

As you evolve, Yoga and Seniors is a gaining partnership for overall conditioning and stretching. There are many community centers that offer free classes. It is recommended that you work towards 3 classes per week.

Of course, the process that is normal to age and get fat leaves muscles tense, stiff, and painful. Senior citizens should seek out massage therapy from a certified therapist or acupuncture. None near you? Try to find a nearby school that teaches massage and acupuncture.

According to WebMD, People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you will still experience some muscle loss. If you are 60, you may have lost about 15% of lean muscle because it is normal to age and get fat. The lean muscle you lost helped make you look trim because muscle fibers kept your fat from showing.

If you are aging and reminisce about times when you were thin and strong, remember how normal it is to age and get fat. Lifestyle changes help but it’s all in the routine. That’s the most difficult thing. The hardest part is starting. After a few repetitions, it does get easier and your body will be trimmer. Just give it time. It took years to grow.