Sarcopenia, a complex multifactorial condition, is characterized by loss of muscle mass and function, which increases progressively with age. The existence of different definitions has contributed to the large variation in the prevalence estimates of sarcopenia. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of sarcopenia in the general population using the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) proposed definition and compared baseline demographic and clinical characteristics between the nonsarcopenia, presarcopenia, and sarcopenia individuals, with particular emphasis on the overlap with osteoporosis and fracture risk. We studied 5911 subjects at a mean age of 69.2 years (55.8% female) with data on sarcopenia participating in the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Presarcopenia was defined as having only low muscle mass, whereas sarcopenia was defined based on the presence of low muscle mass, plus either low muscle strength or low physical performance. The prevalence of presarcopenia and sarcopenia was 5.9% and 4.4%, respectively. Individuals with sarcopenia were older, more often males, smokers, with less optimal dietary intake, and more often disabled with lower physical activity. Although the prevalence of fractures was higher in individuals with low lean mass (presarcopenic [16.6%] and sarcopenic [23.5%]) compared with the no sarcopenic group (15.5%), the differences were not present after correcting for age and sex. There were no statistical differences in the prevalence of chronic diseases, with the exception of a higher prevalence of COPD in presarcopenic (29.1%) and sarcopenic (26.9%) individuals compared with nonsarcopenic (13.4%) individuals. Osteoporotic individuals with (odds ratio [OR] = 2.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.41–4.45) and without sarcopenia (OR = 2.75, 95% CI 2.01–3.75) had similar elevated risk of nonvertebral fractures. The presence of sarcopenia appears to be independent of chronic diseases with the exception of COPD and more related to lifestyle factors and disabilities. Sarcopenic individuals in the general population are at no greater risk of fracture than what is determined by their low bone mineral density.

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Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
Department of Internal Medicine

Trajanoska, K., Schoufour, J., Darweesh, S., Benz, E. (Elizabeth), Medina-Gomez, C., Alferink, L.J.M. (Louise JM), … Rivadeneira, F. (Fernando). (2018). Sarcopenia and Its Clinical Correlates in the General Population: The Rotterdam Study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 33(7), 1209–1218. doi:10.1002/jbmr.3416