As people get older, they lose muscle mass and strength. Few professionals intervene because they’re not looking for it. Now that sarcopenia is in the ICD-10, it should be recognised as a syndrome of old age.
Sarcopenia predicts poor quality of life, difficulties with activities of daily living, mobility dysfunction, falls, fractures, institutionalisation and mortality, independent of other comorbidities.
We are testing for sarcopenia in our clinic for over 50’s, patients with cancer, and type 2 diabetes The tests are simple:
1: DEXA scan for appendicular muscle mass (mass of your arm and leg muscles)
2: hand dynamometry (grip strength test)
3: walking speed test
Sarcopenia diagnosis is defined when the skeletal muscle mass T score from your DEXA scan is less than minus 2 deviations from the avaerage muscle mass of a young normal person: and either or both of the performance tests are below the cut off score.
Intervention involves a progressive resistance training program. It is obviously better to intervene in the pre sarcopenic stage than the sarcopenic stage. Ensuring adequate vitamin D status and maintenance of dietary protein intake optimise the effects of exercise interventions targeting type 2 diabetes and sarcopenia in older adults, thereby delaying onset of morbidity and loss of independence related to both conditions.
The client is then monitored for response to intervention at 12 weeks and then at 6 or 12 monthly intervals.
Muscle mass has an important influence on falls prevention and frailty and Type 2 diabetes.
Simple assessments to diagnose sarcopenia can potentially play a role in primary and secondary prevention of type 2 diabetes in older patients. As skeletal muscle is the largest insulin-sensitive tissue in the body, low muscle mass in sarcopenia likely results in reduced capacity for glucose disposal.
Muscle loss during cancer treatment:
Patients diagnosed and treated for cancer are at risk of sarcopenia. Research illustrates that men on androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer lose about 3.6% muscle mass per year. Patients having chemotherapy for lung cancer lose about 3.7% muscle mass in 11 weeks! Research also illustrates that the survival rate for cancer patients increases with increased muscle mass. 3 exercise sessions per week seems to be enough to increase muscle mass
In summary, exercise is medicine, and should be prescribed prior to diagnosing sarcopenia.
Progressive resistance training can improve muscle mass and strength in cancer patients
Exercise training has been shown to be safe and tolerable in various cancer populations, both during and following treatment.
Call 95183400 and book your DEXA scan today. DEXA scans cost $120 for initial assessment and $93 for a follow up scan and are rebatable through your health fund