Send to

Choose Destination
Thorax. 2011 Nov;66(11):961-9. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2011-200010. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Is age-related decline in lean mass and physical function accelerated by obstructive lung disease or smoking?

Author information

Department of Respiratory Medicine, NUTRIM School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Center+, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.



and aims Cross-sectional studies suggest that obstructive lung disease (OLD) and smoking affect lean mass and mobility. A study was undertaken to investigate whether OLD and smoking accelerate the ageing-related decline in lean mass and physical functioning.


260 patients with OLD (mean±SD forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 63±18% predicted), 157 smoking controls (FEV(1) 95±16% predicted), 866 former-smoking controls (FEV1 100±16% predicted) and 891 never-smoking controls (FEV1 104±17% predicted) participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition (ABC) Study were studied. At baseline the mean age was 74±3 years and participants reported no functional limitations. Baseline and 7-year longitudinal data of body composition (by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry), muscle strength (by hand and leg dynamometry) and Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) were investigated.


Compared with never-smoking controls, patients with OLD and smoking controls had a significantly lower weight, fat mass, lean mass and bone mineral content (BMC) at baseline (p<0.05). While the loss of weight, fat mass, lean mass and strength was comparable between patients with OLD and never-smoking controls, the SPPB declined 0.12 points/year faster in men with OLD (p=0.01) and BMC declined 4 g/year faster in women with OLD (p=0.02). In smoking controls only lean mass declined 0.1 kg/year faster in women (p=0.03) and BMC 8 g/year faster in men (p=0.02) compared with never-smoking controls.


Initially well-functioning older adults with mild-to-moderate OLD and smokers without OLD have a comparable compromised baseline profile of body composition and physical functioning, while 7-year longitudinal trajectories are to a large extent comparable to those observed in never-smokers without OLD. This suggests a common insult earlier in life related to smoking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center