Top 5 Causes of Weak Legs in the Elderly

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Older adults lose muscle mass as they age, increasing their odds of having weak legs. As a result, they have a more challenging time exercising, navigating their homes, and completing various tasks. Below you’ll find some of the leading causes of leg weakness in seniors and what family caregivers can do to help their loved ones prevent or alleviate each cause.

1. Inactivity

Being sedentary is one of the top reasons aging adults experience weak legs. Failing to use the muscles causes fat to replace fibers in the body. The inactivity can raise the risk of muscle wasting, and the tissues will become floppier and contract less effectively. Floppy muscles cause bulk reduction and increase fatigue. However, regular exercise and physical activities can reverse the situation and keep muscles fit.


2. Heart Disease

When heart muscles are weakened, they cannot pump blood efficiently. Over time, the muscles stretch and become thinner, causing problems throughout the body, including the legs. 

Older adults living with heart disease can also experience increased sympathetic nerve activity. The condition involves nerves that carry adrenaline throughout the body and impact movement. To manage muscle fatigue caused by cardiovascular problems, seniors should avoid sugary foods, practice stress management techniques, and take medications appropriately. 

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Miami, FL, Assisting Hands Home Care are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.


3. Deep Vein Thrombosis

This condition is common in the elderly, and it causes blood clotting deep within the legs, specifically the lower regions. The blood doesn’t return to the heart as it should and pools toward the clot. In some cases, the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs or heart. To prevent deep vein thrombosis from causing cramping and swelling in the legs, older adults need to manage their weight, avoid sitting still for long periods, and ask their doctors about treatments that prevent clotting, such as blood thinners.


4. Diabetes

Muscle weakness in the lower legs is common in older adults living with diabetes. The condition increases the intramuscular fat in the lower leg muscles. As a result, the fat reduces knee extensor strength and volume. 

The muscle weakness caused by diabetes makes it difficult to take on basic tasks, such as walking to the bathroom, exercising, or standing and cooking. To reduce the infiltrated fat, seniors need to follow their treatment plans correctly and incorporate good habits into their daily routines, such as healthy eating, stress reduction, and engaging in as much physical movement as possible. 

Some medical conditions could make it challenging for aging adults to exercise on their own, but help is available. Home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.


5. Neurological Disorders

Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s cause balance issues for seniors and affect their gait. These are problems that weaken the legs and make it difficult to walk. To prevent neurological disorders like these from affecting the leg muscles, seniors should follow their treatment plans to slow the progression of their diseases. If the disorders worsen, weak leg muscles are some of the problems that may develop. 

Some seniors need help with exercising, preparing nutritious meals, and staying healthy in general. Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Miami Beach home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Assisting Hands Home Care. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (305) 564-6251 today.