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Diabetes Leading Cause of Weak Legs

Degeneration in skeletal muscle strength in elderly diabetics is a cause of concern for Korean and US doctors today, according to Diabetes Care. Dr. Seok Won Park, lead study investigator, says that elderly diabetics lose leg muscle strength 50 percent faster as compared to those who are healthy.This may explain the higher risk in physical disability among diabetics.

To thoroughly investigate this claim, Dr. Park and his team studied 1,840 people between the ages of 70 and 79 years. Of the 1,840, 305 had type 2 diabetes. Upon entry in the study, leg and arm muscle mass and strength were measured. The process was repeated three years later.

Diabetics showed significant decline in strength in their leg muscles compared to healthy individuals. Also, leg muscle strength and maximum leg muscle strength per unit of muscle mass declined among the diabetics. Researchers found no significant changes in arm muscle strength and quality.

Dr. Park and his colleagues suggest that diabetes may cause other functional impairments in the muscular function of the legs that are not necessarily accompanied by the loss of muscle mass.

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