Sarcopenia: causes, consequences, and preventions

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003 Oct;58(10):M911-6. doi: 10.1093/gerona/58.10.m911.


With the onset of advancing age, muscle tissue is gradually lost, resulting in diminished mass and strength, a condition referred to as sarcopenia. The sequela of sarcopenia often contributes to frailty, decreased independence, and subsequently increased health care costs. The following was adapted from an introduction to the conference "Sarcopenia, Age-Related Muscle Loss-Causes, Consequences, and Prevention," sponsored by the Kronos Longevity Research Institute in June 2002. This brief review will introduce potential mechanisms that may contribute to sarcopenia, although no one mechanism has yet, and may not completely, define this process. The only agreed-upon intervention from these proceedings was regular physical exercise, stressing weight-training for elderly men and women. However, even those individuals who maintain their fitness through exercise do not appear to be immune to sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / complications*
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / prevention & control*