A Narrative Review on Sarcopenia in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Prevalence and Associated Factors

Nutrients. 2021 Jan 9;13(1):183. doi: 10.3390/nu13010183.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) represents a major health burden for the elderly population, affecting approximately 25% of people over the age of 65 years. This percentage is expected to increase dramatically in the next decades in relation to the increased longevity of the population observed in recent years. Beyond microvascular and macrovascular complications, sarcopenia has been described as a new diabetes complication in the elderly population. Increasing attention has been paid by researchers and clinicians to this age-related condition-characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass together with the loss of muscle power and function-in individuals with T2DM; this is due to the heavy impact that sarcopenia may have on physical and psychosocial health of diabetic patients, thus affecting their quality of life. The aim of this narrative review is to provide an update on: (1) the risk of sarcopenia in individuals with T2DM, and (2) its association with relevant features of patients with T2DM such as age, gender, body mass index, disease duration, glycemic control, presence of microvascular or macrovascular complications, nutritional status, and glucose-lowering drugs. From a clinical point of view, it is necessary to improve the ability of physicians and dietitians to recognize early sarcopenia and its risk factors in patients with T2DM in order to make appropriate therapeutic approaches able to prevent and treat this condition.

Keywords: sarcopenia; skeletal muscle mass; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Sarcopenia / complications*
  • Sarcopenia / epidemiology*
  • Sex Factors