The Singapore Family Physician

Back to issue Vol 47 No. 6 - Update: Malnutrition, Muscle Loss and Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia: Update on Diagnosis and Treatment in an Asian Community Setting

Lim Wee Shiong
The Singapore Family Physician Vol 47 No 6 - Update: Malnutrition, Muscle Loss and Sarcopenia
5 - 12
1 May 2021
Sarcopenia refers to the age-associated progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass plus loss of muscle strength and/or reduced physical performance. Described as the biological substrate that antecedes physical frailty, sarcopenia is associated with adverse health outcomes in older adults. The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) code for sarcopenia represents a major step forward in translating sarcopenia to clinical practice. The Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia (AWGS) 2019 consensus provides an algorithm for identifying and diagnosing older adults with or at-risk for sarcopenia. “Possible sarcopenia” is defined by low muscle strength or reduced physical performance, and is applicable for primary health care and community settings. Accurate case finding and assessment requires proper administration using the correct instruments. Older adults with or at-risk for sarcopenia should be evaluated for reversible causes (using the ‘4D’ mnemonic). Currently, the mainstay of treatment is non-pharmacological, comprising resistance exercise and adequate protein intake.