Male Ageing: Muscle Loss and Depression Linked?

 As men get older, their muscle mass decreases  as a result of falling levels of hormones, such as  testosterone and human growth hormone. Men hit  their peak in terms of muscle mass in their 30’s  and from the age of 40, this starts to decrease.  Decreased muscle mass is often synonymous  with increased fat mass, especially around the      waist.


Ageing and depression in men

Depression is fairly common in older men; it can be caused by several factors and there is some evidence to suggest that hormones can play a part in increasing susceptibility to depression. You often hear the phrase ‘male menopause’ in the media and this is often linked to stress and depression; the male menopause, also known as the andropause, does not exist in the same form as the female menopause, as there is no sudden decrease in hormones; however, there are hormonal changes in the male body and combined with other factors, they can contribute to depression.

Depression can also be associated with stress at work, financial pressure, relationship issues and divorce, ill health and traumatic life events, such as the loss of a loved one.


Muscle loss and depression

Muscle loss is part and parcel of ageing, but it affects people in different ways. Some men continue to train and strive to stay strong and fit, while others resign themselves to the natural effects of ageing. Muscle loss is inevitable, but this is not to say that it needs to be significant or life-changing; there are plenty of men in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who are very strong and healthy still because they look after their bodies and have a positive attitude when it comes to healthy living.

If you have low levels of testosterone or human growth hormone as a result of hormonal imbalances or underlying illness, or you suffer from health problems, this can accelerate the loss of muscle tissue and hormone treatment with a professional such as High Life Clinic may be an option.

Muscle loss may contribute to depression for a number of reasons; some men may feel less manly, while others may be anxious about the future and worried about their health and what awaits them as they get older. The link between muscle mass and depression is not direct, but there are factors, such as self-esteem, confidence and hormone levels, which link the two.


Symptoms of depression

Depression is not just feeling a bit low for a couple of days; this happens to us all and is completely normal. Depression is an illness, which causes people to feel very low for a prolonged period of time and it is not merely something you can shake off. Symptoms of depression include:

  • low energy levels
  • fatigue
  • disturbed sleep
  • anxiety
  • loss of motivation
  • changes in body weight
  • low self-esteem
  • feeling hopeless
  • feeling guilty
  • irritability and restlessness
  • generally feeling unwell
  • changes in bowel habits
  • suicidal thoughts
  • becoming withdrawn and antisocial
  • finding it difficult to get excited about anything and losing interest in social activities

Stress and Oral Health Impacts

It may not always be obvious to us how stress may affect our oral health. Each person may experience stress differently and may or may not experience some of the following impacts of stress on oral health:


Anxiety and teeth grinding

Anxiety caused by work pressures, personal trauma, accidents and injuries, or relationships may result in a person grinding their teeth by day, night or both. Teeth grinding often takes place in our sleep and we may awake with a sore jaw or teeth. Bruxism is another name for teeth grinding and may lead to tooth wear, tooth pain, broken teeth, bite and jaw disorders.


Comfort foods to alleviate stress

While some people may choose not to eat when stress is experienced, others may opt for lots of comfort foods that are often detrimental for weight gain and dental health. Foods high in sugars and acids may wear tooth enamel causing the structure of the tooth to become damaged.


Individuals eating comfort foods due to stress may be at higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Increased food consumption may lead to weight gain that acts as a trigger for development of further health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.


Poor health, stress and oral health

An injury may lead to decreased mobility that causes weight gain, affecting oral and overall health. Persons suffering poor health may experience stress as a result of their health condition, and the stress may lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, weight problems, diabetes and cancer that are all linked to oral health condition.


Stress, nail biting and tooth health

When a person bites their nails due to stress, dental abrasion occurs where tooth enamel wears and exposes the inner dentin and even dental pulp to infection. Mechanical abrasion damages teeth and may lead to a range of oral health conditions including bite disorders.


Stress and keeping of dental appointments

Individuals experiencing stress are more likely to miss a dental appointment or totally forget to make one as a result of their mind condition. Coping may become harder, and looking after teeth and gums may not even enter the mind. Without six monthly dental check-ups, from professionals like this dentist in W1 the teeth and gums are vulnerable to decay and disease.


Stress raises risk of oral trauma

The more stressed we are, the more we rush around and raise our risk of accident or injury. Facial injuries may include oral trauma such as lacerations to the cheek, lips, tongue or gums, partial or full dental avulsion, or broken teeth.


Lowering stress and improving oral health

By getting stress levels under control, we are likely to experience better oral health. Seeing a General Practitioner (GP) about stress is the first step to reducing it for improved oral condition and wellbeing. GPs may do a health check-up, medication review, prescribe a medication or refer an individual for counselling to understand the cause of the stress and ill-health.

Bad oral hygiene causes you to take longer to conceive

Many people feel that the conditions that affect their mouths are confined to the mouth, but the body is an interconnected organism. What affects one part of the body has implications throughout a person’s overall constitution.

Tax Credits for Childcare Costs

The government normally awards up to 70 per cent of total childcare costs incurred by the parent. For example, when a parent spends £150 every week on one child, the tax credit awarded will be £105 weekly. Income is another key factor in determining the tax credit and the families that fall in the low income bracket receive more benefits. One should report disability when seeking for tax credits for a child with disabilities since they will be awarded more benefits. When claiming for tax credits, the parent should only include the costs he/she directly incurs for the child or children's upkeep. Avoid stating childcare benefits from government schemes, vouchers from employer in exchange for deduction from wages or costs met by local authority.