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Sarcopenia in Older Adults

  • By: Edward M. Phillips & Roger Fielding
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

In 1989, Dr. Irving Rosenberg first characterized sarcopenia as the loss of skeletal muscle mass that occurs with aging and the clinical condition of having exceptionally low levels of muscle mass. This gradual decline in skeletal muscle begins at as early an age as 30 years. The word is derived from sarco from the Greek for “flesh” (muscle) and penia, indicating “deficiency.” The importance of sarcopenia includes some evidence for a metabolic role of muscle but more significantly the associated decreased muscle strength and endurance. These deficits are strongly associated with functional impairment, physical disability, and loss of independence in older individuals. This loss of function and muscle mass can be mitigated through maintaining adequate levels of regular physical activity, including resistance exercise.

Measurement and Testing

Although ...

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