Sarcopenia and osteopenia among 70-80-year-old home-dwelling Finnish women: prevalence and association with functional performance

R Patil, K Uusi-Rasi, M Pasanen, P Kannus, S Karinkanta, H Sievänen
Osteoporosis International 2013, 24 (3): 787-96

UNLABELLED: This study showed that the prevalence of sarcopenia (low muscle mass and performance) among 70-80-year-old home-dwelling Finnish women is very low, while every third woman has WHO-based osteopenia (low bone mass). Muscle mass and derived indices of sarcopenia were not significantly related to measures of functional ability.

INTRODUCTION: This study aims to determine the prevalence of sarcopenia and osteopenia among four hundred nine 70-80-year-old independently living Finnish women. The study compared consensus diagnostic criteria for age-related sarcopenia recently published by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) and the International Working Group on Sarcopenia (IWG) and assessed their associations with functional ability.

METHODS: Femoral bone mineral density and body composition were measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Skeletal muscle mass index (SMI), gait speed, and handgrip strength were used for sarcopenia diagnosis. Independent samples t tests determined group differences in body composition and functional ability according to recommended diagnostic cutpoints. Scatter plots were used to illustrate the correlations between the outcome measures used for diagnosis.

RESULTS: Prevalence of sarcopenia was 0.9 and 2.7 % according to the EWGSOP and IWG, respectively. Thirty-six percent of the women had WHO-based osteopenia. Women with higher gait speed had significantly lower body weight and fat mass percentage, higher lean mass percentage, and better functional ability. Women with a low SMI weighed significantly less, with no significant differences in other outcome measures. SMI, gait speed, and grip strength were significantly correlated.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that when using consensus definitions, sarcopenia is infrequent among older home-dwelling women while every third woman has osteopenia. In clinical practice, attention should be paid to the decline in functional ability rather than focusing on low muscle mass alone.

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