Assessment of sarcopenia in primary care:identifying potential practical tools for assessment and scope for intervention
- Principal Investigator: Goya Wannamethee
- 1 October 2015 to 30 April 2016
- Project No: 278
- Funding round: FR 9
Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle with age, is now recognised as a major clinical problem in older people and is estimated to affect 30% of people over the age of 60, and more than 50% of those over the age of 80. There is increasing recognition that sarcopenia (muscle loss) leads to frailty, falls, disability, hospital admissions and increased death. The European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older people (EWGSOP) has defined sarcopenia on the basis of low physical performance (walking speed, hand grip strength) and low muscle mass, which are not easily measurable in routine clinical practice in primary care. Identifying older people with sarcopenia in primary care has received little attention; no simple easily applied measure currently exists. We propose to use data from a cohort of 1722 older men aged 72-91 years from general practices in 24 British towns to develop an easy-to-use tool to identify those with or at high risk of sarcopenia. We particularly aim to evaluate the use of objective and subjective measures of walking speed in predicting sarcopenia and whether they are effective in predicting adverse outcomes including disability, falls and death. We will also assess whether a combination of walking speed together with simple questions such as weight loss or difficulty climbing stairs would improve the accuracy of detecting sarcopenia. Finally, we aim to examine the association between overall diet quality and objective measures of physical activity and sarcopenia – this will enable us to assess the scope for prevention of sarcopenia through dietary change and physical activity interventions.