Assessment of lower extremity muscle mass, muscle strength, and exercise therapy in elderly patients with diabetes mellitus

Environ Health Prev Med. 2018 May 17;23(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s12199-018-0710-7.


The increase in the proportion of elderly people in the population is one of the most remarkable sociodemographic phenomena of the twenty-first century. The number of patients with diabetes is also increasing worldwide with this demographic change. Given these facts, consideration of the problems the general elderly population is facing in the management of diabetes is essential. In this review article, we focus on sarcopenia, which is the decrease in lower extremity muscle mass and muscle strength accompanying aging, describe the relationship between sarcopenia and diabetes, and highlight the specific factors through which diabetes contributes to loss of muscle strength. The quantitative methods for evaluating lower extremity muscle strength will also be described. These methods hold the key to assessing the effectiveness of exercise therapy and optimizing the assessment of the degree of autonomy in the activities of daily living. Exercise is one of the basic treatments for type 2 diabetes and may also prevent and improve sarcopenia. This review discusses the aspects common to the two health conditions and elucidates the effectiveness and necessity of exercise as a preventive measure against diabetes among the elderly.

Keywords: Aging; Diabetes; Dynamometer; Elderly; Exercise; Locomotive syndrome (locomo); Muscle; Physical therapy; Sarcopenia; Strength.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia / prevention & control*