Sarcopenia in daily practice: assessment and management

BMC Geriatr. 2016 Oct 5;16(1):170. doi: 10.1186/s12877-016-0349-4.


Background: Sarcopenia is increasingly recognized as a correlate of ageing and is associated with increased likelihood of adverse outcomes including falls, fractures, frailty and mortality. Several tools have been recommended to assess muscle mass, muscle strength and physical performance in clinical trials. Whilst these tools have proven to be accurate and reliable in investigational settings, many are not easily applied to daily practice.

Methods: This paper is based on literature reviews performed by members of the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO) working group on frailty and sarcopenia. Face-to-face meetings were afterwards organized for the whole group to make amendments and discuss further recommendations.

Results: This paper proposes some user-friendly and inexpensive methods that can be used to assess sarcopenia in real-life settings. Healthcare providers, particularly in primary care, should consider an assessment of sarcopenia in individuals at increased risk; suggested tools for assessing risk include the Red Flag Method, the SARC-F questionnaire, the SMI method or different prediction equations. Management of sarcopenia should primarily be patient centered and involve the combination of both resistance and endurance based activity programmes with or without dietary interventions. Development of a number of pharmacological interventions is also in progress.

Conclusions: Assessment of sarcopenia in individuals with risk factors, symptoms and/or conditions exposing them to the risk of disability will become particularly important in the near future.

Keywords: Assessment; Daily practice; Management; Sarcopenia; Tools.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Organ Size
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sarcopenia / diagnosis*
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires