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Maturitas. 2010 Aug;66(4):383-8. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.03.020. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Preventing sarcopaenia in older people.

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Aged & Extended Care Services, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Central Northern Adelaide Health Service, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


With increasing age, there is a loss of appetite. Decline in food intake exceeds the decline in physical activity resulting in weight loss. With the ensuing weight loss, there is disproportionate loss of muscle mass. Even if weight is regained, there is a net loss of muscle mass. Sarcopaenia refers to a lack of muscle mass which leads to adverse health outcomes such as falls and reduced physical function. With sarcopaenia, there is change not only to muscle mass but also to muscle quality and function. As with other diseases, prevention is better than cure. With increasing age, there should be adequate protein intake and there is recommendation that the total protein intake is spread equally across three main meals. Sustained participation in resistance exercise programs also benefit muscle anabolism, an effect that may be enhanced if exercise is followed soon after by a high-protein meal. Attention to Vitamin D is not only likely to benefit muscle strength but would also reduce fracture risk with falls. Older people should focus on weight maintenance given that weight loss may result in undesirable loss of muscle mass. Those who are morbidly obese who need to lose weight should be advised to maintain protein intake and exercise to preserve muscle mass. Sarcopaenia, if unmanaged, is likely to result in significant health care costs. Preventing sarcopaenia will most likely not only result in significant health cost savings but will also contribute to better health in older age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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