Sarcopenia in the elderly: Basic and clinical issues


Dr Li Bai MD, Medical Healthcare Center of Beijing Friendship Hospital of Capital Medical University, 95 YongAn Road, Beijing 100050, China. Email:


The original definition of sarcopenia refers to the age-related loss of muscle mass. The literature suggests that the prevalence of sarcopenia in 60- to 70-year-olds is in the range of 5–13%. Prevalence estimates increase to 11–50% for the population aged 80 years or older. Estimates by the World Health Organization suggest that there were 600 million people aged 60 years or older in the year 2000, and that this number will increase to 1.2 billion by the year 2025. There are, however, limited published data on serial measures of muscle mass in older subjects to establish the age-related changes in muscle mass and to relate this change with adverse health consequences. This review is focused on the definition, prevalence, symptoms, pharmacy and physical therapy of sarcopenia in older subjects with the aim of promoting the recognition and treatment of age-related sarcopenia in the clinical setting. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2012; 12: 388–396.