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Bone. 2017 Dec;105:276-286. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.09.008. Epub 2017 Sep 18.

A review of sarcopenia: Enhancing awareness of an increasingly prevalent disease.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY 10021, United States.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY 10021, United States. Electronic address:


Sarcopenia is defined as an age associated decline in skeletal muscle mass. The pathophysiology of sarcopenia is multifactorial, with decreased caloric intake, muscle fiber denervation, intracellular oxidative stress, hormonal decline, and enhanced myostatin signaling all thought to contribute. Prevalence rates are as high as 29% and 33% in elderly community dwelling and long-term care populations, respectively, with advanced age, low body mass index, and low physical activity as significant risk factors. Sarcopenia shares many characteristics with other disease states typically associated with risk of fall and fracture, including osteoporosis, frailty, and obesity. There is no current universally accepted definition of sarcopenia. Diagnosing sarcopenia with contemporary operational definitions requires assessments of muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance. Screening is recommended for both elderly patients and those with conditions that noticeably reduce physical function. Sarcopenia is highly prevalent in orthopedic patient populations and correlates with higher hospital costs and rates of falling, fracture, and mortality. As no muscle building agents are currently approved in the United States, resistance training and nutritional supplementation are the primary methods for treating sarcopenia. Trials with various agents, including selective androgen receptor modulators and myostatin inhibitors, show promise as future treatment options. Increased awareness of sarcopenia is of great importance to begin reaching consensus on diagnosis and to contribute to finding a cure for this condition.


Aging; Frailty; Muscle; Myostatin; Osteoporosis; Sarcopenia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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