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ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 16

Some clarifications of terminology may facilitate sarcopenia assessment

Andrzej Lewandowicz
Piotr Sławiński
Ewa Kądalska
Tomasz Targowski

Department of Geriatrics, National Institute of Geriatrics, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Warsaw, Poland
Arch Med Sci 2020; 16 (1): 225–232
Online publish date: 2019/12/31
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The decrease in muscle mass and function along with aging is a well-known natural process. However, from as early as about 30 years old the muscle mass and strength begin to physiologically decrease. It may accelerate around the age of 75, but this varies individually, starting as early at 65 or as late at 80 years old. The dynamics of this process depends on many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. These include hormonal changes, co-morbidities with especially chronic heart failure, decreased physical activity, inappropriate protein and caloric intake or their decreased turnover [1, 2]. The limited physical activity due to impaired muscle function contributes to a vicious circle, further accelerating atrophy of muscles when they are not stressed by exertion or exercise. The loss of muscle mass, their strength and function is referred to as sarcopenia. The term sarcopenia (from the Greek ‘sarx’ – the flesh and ‘penia’ – loss) was used for the first time, however, in 1989 by Rosenberg to determine the loss of muscle mass associated with aging [3]. The process of primary sarcopenia naturally follows chronological aging. It is significantly exacerbated by multiple diseases that usually affect the geriatric population, results in increasing pathological aging and leads to secondary sarcopenia, that is muscle loss when other evident causes are also involved, besides aging [4, 5]. According to the present criteria, sarcopenia means loss of muscle mass, muscle strength and/or physical performance [6]. Sarcopenia affects 5–10% of people over 65 years of age and affects more than 50% of people aged over 80 years, significantly contributing to a decrease in the functional capacity, institutionalization and dependence on third parties [7]. Sarcopenia is to a certain extent associated with frailty syndrome, and the low muscle mass is a factor increasing mortality [8, 9]. Patients with sarcopenia have reduced quality of life (SF-36) in the domain of physical performance, tendency to falls, and in the case of women, dependence when performing domestic tasks was increased [10]. Due to the aging of the European population, sarcopenia has become a challenge in the field of public health. The number of individuals with sarcopenia in Europe may rise from around 11–20 millions in 2016 to more than 19-32 millions in 2045 (a 64–72% increase), depending on criteria assumed [11]. In 2016 sarcopenia was classified as a separate disease according to ICD-10...

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