Age- and Stroke-Related Skeletal Muscle Changes: A Review for the Geriatric Clinician


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Abstract

Independently, aging and stroke each have a significant negative impact on skeletal muscle, but the potential cumulative effects of aging and stroke have not been explored. Optimal interventions for individuals post stroke may include those that specifically target skeletal muscle. Addressing changes in muscles may minimize activity limitations and enhance participation post stroke. This article reviews the impact of aging and stroke on muscle morphology and composition, including fiber atrophy, reductions in muscle cross-sectional area, changes in muscle fiber distributions, and increases in intramuscular fat. Relationships between changes in muscle structure, muscle function, and physical mobility are reviewed. Clinical recommendations that preserve and enhance skeletal muscle in the aging adult and individuals post stroke are discussed. Future research directions that include systematic comparison of the differences in skeletal muscle between younger and older adults who have sustained a stroke are suggested.

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