Sarcopenia and Frailty: New Challenges for Clinical Practice

Clin Med (Lond). 2015 Dec;15 Suppl 6:s88-91. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.15-6-s88.


Sarcopenia and frailty are important conditions that become increasingly prevalent with age. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and function, and frailty can be defined as multi-system impairment associated with increased vulnerability to stressors. There is overlap between the two conditions, especially in terms of the physical aspects of the frailty phenotype: low grip strength, gait speed and muscle mass. These measures have been associated with a wide range of ageing outcomes and can be assessed in the clinical setting. In terms of intervention, there is evidence for the benefit of resistance exercise programmes, although these may not always be feasible. Considerable research into the use of medicines, both existing and new, as well as dietary supplements is ongoing. Finally in order to prevent or delay the development of these conditions, an additional approach is to consider aetiological factors operating across the life course.

Keywords: Sarcopenia; ageing; frailty; life course; muscle function; muscle mass.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Muscle Weakness*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia*