Main Article Content

Joseph Miller


Sarcopenia, Muscle Wasting, Muscle, Older Adults, Strength and Function Loss


Objective: Sarcopenia is a growing public health issue with significant personal and societal implications putting older adults at increased risk of physical disability, decreased quality of life, loss of independence and death. Despite its prevalence, sarcopenia is overlooked and undertreated in primary health care settings. This narrative review is an overview of the causes, consequences, prevalence, risk factors, deficits and natural history of sarcopenia.

Method: I searched PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus and Google Scholar to identify relevant papers published between 1980-2021 using search terms sarcopenia, frailty, muscle wasting, older adults, aging disorders, muscle, strength and function loss.

Results: Papers were screened according to the following eligibility criteria. Population: adults aged 50 and older in community dwelling or institutionalized settings (nursing homes, hospitals); men and women screened for sarcopenia with clear diagnostic criteria; outcome measures related to sarcopenia including strength, muscle mass and physical or functional performance. Study design: systematic review, meta-analysis. Limits: English language, human adults. Studies were diverse. The main reasons for exclusion were papers with younger participants or not including sarcopenia’s effect on related outcomes. Of 1,121 records, a total of 38 papers were included in this review. These papers covered the causes, consequences, prevalence, risk factors, deficits and natural history of sarcopenia. Studies were included based on their relevancy to the chiropractic profession.

Conclusions: There is general agreement that sarcopenia is a commonly overlooked condition that has public health ramifications. Several papers express concern over the lack of attentiveness to this condition, which may have life-altering consequences in older individuals. There is little information regarding the role chiropractors might play with this condition. However, as “portal of entry” health care providers chiropractors may be ideally poised to assist with this condition.


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