Sarcopenia, weight loss tied to elevated mortality risk
It appears that sarcopenic obesity confers a comparable risk of mortality as sarcopenia alone, and that weight loss plus sarcopenia presents the greatest risk, suggests a recent study.
Community-dwelling older adults (mean age 66.2 years; 54.4 percent women) from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing were recruited to examine the association of sarcopenic obesity and changes in muscle strength and weight with the risk of mortality.
Researchers measured handgrip strength and body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) at baseline and at a 4-year follow-up. Individual participant data were linked with death records from National Health Service registries. Sarcopenic obesity referred to obese individuals (BMI, ≥30) in the lowest tertile of sex-specific grip strength (<35.3 kg for men and <19.6 kg for women).
During a mean follow-up of 8 years, a total of 906 deaths occurred. Compared with the reference group (normal BMI and highest handgrip tertile), reduction of grip strength within each BMI category increased the risk of all-cause mortality.
A little difference was observed in the risk between normal BMI (hazard ratio [HR], 3.25; 95 percent CI, 1.86 to 5.65), overweight (HR, 2.50; 1.44 to 4.35) and obesity (HR, 2.66; 1.86 to 3.80) for participants in the lowest handgrip tertile after adjusting for covariates.
Participants who had weight loss over 4 years (HR, 2.21; 1.32 to 3.71) and/or reduced hand grip strength (HR, 1.53; 10.07 to 2.17) had significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality than those with stable weight and grip strength. Moreover, those with both weight loss and reduced strength (HR, 3.77; 2.54 to 5.60) had the highest risk.
“Age-related sarcopenia describes the loss of muscle strength and often accompanies an increase in adiposity in the elderly,” researchers noted.