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Summary: This study investigated the relationship between muscle and bone status in elderly individuals. Our results suggested links between sarcopenia and osteoporosis; impairment in muscle status (i.e., muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance) is associated with deterioration in bone mass and texture subsequently leading to an increased risk of fracture. Introduction: Accumulating evidence has shown associations between sarcopenia and osteoporosis, but existing studies face inconsistencies in the clinical definition of both conditions. Thus, we sought to investigate bone health among older individuals with or without muscle health impairment. Methods: We conducted an analysis of cross-sectional data available from the Sarcopenia and Physical Impairment with Advancing Age (SarcoPhAge) study. Sarcopenia was diagnosed according to the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) (i.e., a low muscle mass plus either low muscle strength or low physical performance). Muscle mass and areal bone mineral density (aBMD) were determined using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Muscle strength was assessed using a hand dynamometer, and physical performance was assessed with the Short Physical Performance Battery test. Using the cutoff limits proposed by the EWGSOP, we have classified women in the “low SMI group” when its value was <  5.50 kg/m2, in the “low muscle strength group” when strength was <  20 kg, and in the “low physical performance group” when SPPB <  8 points. The thresholds of <  7.26 kg/m2 (for SMI), <  30 kg (for muscle strength), and SPPB <  8 points were used for men. The 10-year fracture risk was obtained using the FRAX® tool. Moreover, bone texture was determined using the trabecular bone score (TBS) method. Results: The study sample consisted of 288 older subjects aged 74.7 ± 5.7 years, and 59.0% of the subjects were women. Sarcopenia was diagnosed in 43 individuals (14.9%), and osteoporosis was diagnosed in 36 subjects (12.5%). Moreover, aBMD values were, most of the time, lower in older men and women with muscle impairment (i.e., low muscle mass, low muscle strength, and low physical performance). For these subjects, we also noted a higher probability of fracture. When comparing bone quality, there were no significant differences in the TBS values between sarcopenic and non-sarcopenic older men and women or between those with low and high muscle mass. However, when controlling for confounders (i.e., age, BMI, number of co-morbidities, smoking status, and nutritional status), TBS values were lower in older women with low muscle strength (p = 0.04) and in older men with low physical performance (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Our study showed interrelationships between components of sarcopenia and osteoporosis, with older subjects with muscle impairment having poorer bone health.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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