Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Higher Muscle Density Reduced Risk Of Hospitalization In The Elderly

Date:
August 7, 2009
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Older adults who have less strength, poor physical function and low muscle density are at higher risk of being hospitalized compared to adults with more strength and better function.

Older adults who have less strength, poor physical function and low muscle density are at higher risk of being hospitalized compared to adults with more strength and better function. That's the finding of a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

The study also found that muscle density, a measure of how much fat compared to lean tissue there is in the muscle, is a more accurate gauge of a person's risk of hospitalization than muscle mass or size. The relative risk for hospitizations was 50% higher for those with poor walking or less dense muscle mass

"Our research suggests that we need to re-think the way we define sarcopenia or age-related muscle loss," says Peggy Cawthon, PhD, MPH, a scientist with the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute and the lead author of the study. "Many definitions of sarcopenia today tend to focus on lean mass or muscle size, our study shows that is looking at the wrong factors. We found that muscle strength or performance were much better ways of measuring function."

The researchers followed 3,011 healthy, non-disabled adults between the ages of 70 and 80, for an average of almost five years. They measured their physical function in a number of ways including walking speed, their ability to stand up from a chair repeatedly, the strength of their grip and their leg strength. By the end of the study more than 55 percent of the participants had experienced one or more hospitalizations. Those most likely to end up in the hospital were the adults who scored lowest on the measures of physical function; this held true after allowing age, medical conditions, lean mass or muscle size. They also found that adults with the least dense thigh muscles, namely those with a higher proportion of fat in their thighs, were also at a higher risk of hospitalization compared to adults with more dense thighs.

"The findings are particularly important because they suggest that interventions, such as physical exercise, that improve physical function could help keep more vulnerable seniors out of the hospital," says Cawthon. "That would not only reduce disability but it would also reduce the huge economic burden associated with hospitalization of the elderly."

One in five Americans over the age of 65 suffers from sarcopenia. In 2000 the direct health care cost of treating it were estimated to be more than $18.5 billion. With the number of Americans older than 65 estimated to double by the middle of the century those costs are expected to increase dramatically.

Preventing older Americans from being hospitalized is more than just a matter of saving health care dollars, it may also save lives. Numerous studies show that even short stays in the hospital are associated with a greater future risk of functional decline and disability.

"Most methods of measuring muscle mass or density rely on complex imaging procedures, such as using quantitative computed tomography (QCT). Those are time consuming and expensive," says Cawthon. "However, we found that much simpler methods – such as measuring walking speed – are much easier and cheaper to do, and are even more accurate in determining a person's risk of future hospitalization. This gives us the ability to screen larger groups of people and help those at risk with some simple interventions, such as physical exercise."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cawthon et al. Do Muscle Mass, Muscle Density, Strength and Physical Function Similarly Influence Risk of Hospitalization in Older Adults? Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 57(8) DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02366.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Higher Muscle Density Reduced Risk Of Hospitalization In The Elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073614.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2009, August 7). Higher Muscle Density Reduced Risk Of Hospitalization In The Elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073614.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Higher Muscle Density Reduced Risk Of Hospitalization In The Elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730073614.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins