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Sarcopenia and Osteoporotic Fractures

Abstract

Low bone mass is strongly associated with increased fracture risk. However, the importance of low muscle mass and strength—known as sarcopenia—as a risk factor for osteoporotic fractures remains overlooked and sometimes controversial. Bone and muscle are closely interconnected not only anatomically, but also physically, chemically and metabolically. Indeed, a significant proportion of individuals with sarcopenia also suffer from osteopenia/osteoporosis suggesting a link between the two tissues. This subgroup of osteosarcopenic individuals are at higher risk of falls and fractures. Therefore, we suggest that lean mass and muscle strength/function assessments should be an integral part in any fracture prevention protocol. A combination of lean mass quantification by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan and assessment of muscle function by gait velocity could not only confirm the diagnosis of sarcopenia but also optimize any fracture prevention interventions. In the absence of specific therapies for sarcopenia, simple interventions such as resistance (weight-bearing) training, protein supplements and appropriate levels of vitamin D have a dual effect on bone and muscle and could have a significant effect on reducing falls and fractures in this high-risk population.

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Acknowledgments

A/Prof Levinger was supported by a Future Leader Fellowship (ID: 100040) from the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

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Correspondence to Gustavo Duque.

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Itamar Levinger, Steven Phu and Gustavo Duque have no conflict of interest to disclose.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

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Levinger, I., Phu, S. & Duque, G. Sarcopenia and Osteoporotic Fractures. Clinic Rev Bone Miner Metab 14, 38–44 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12018-016-9204-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12018-016-9204-6

Keywords

  • Osteoporosis
  • Sarcopenia
  • Osteosarcopenia
  • Fractures
  • Falls
  • Elderly