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The first-ever global definition of sarcopenia

The Global Leadership Initiative in Sarcopenia (GLIS) has unveiled the first-ever global conceptual definition of sarcopenia, published in Age and Ageing 2024. This esteemed group of international experts revolutionizes how we understand and address muscle loss in aging populations.

The new definition of sarcopenia is a comprehensive framework that encompasses the following key aspects:

1.     Concurrent Combination of Reduced Muscle Mass and Muscle Strength: Sarcopenia is characterized by both diminished muscle mass and decreased muscle strength. This dual criterion forms the cornerstone of identifying and diagnosing sarcopenia.

2.     Generalized Disease of Skeletal Muscle: Sarcopenia is recognized as a widespread condition affecting skeletal muscle throughout the body, emphasizing its systemic nature.

3.     Age-Related Prevalence: There is broad consensus that the prevalence of sarcopenia increases with age. This highlights the importance of addressing sarcopenia within aging populations.

4.     Uniform Definition Across Settings: Sarcopenia is proposed to remain consistent across various care settings, age groups, and conditions, whether in clinical practice or research settings. This ensures standardized criteria for diagnosis and management.

5.     Potential Reversibility: Sarcopenia is considered a potentially reversible condition, suggesting that interventions targeting muscle mass and strength may mitigate its effects.

6.     Inclusion of Muscle-Specific Strength: Muscle-specific strength, which refers to strength standardized to muscle size, is integrated into the conceptual definition. This acknowledges the importance of considering muscle quality in addition to quantity.

7.     Adverse Health Consequences: Sarcopenia is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including impaired physical performance, mobility limitations, challenges in activities of daily living, diminished quality of life, increased risk of falls, fractures, hospitalizations, nursing home admissions, and mortality.

This new definition provides a comprehensive understanding of sarcopenia, laying the groundwork for improved diagnosis, management, and intervention strategies to address the needs of aging populations worldwide.

Kirk, B., et al., The Conceptual Definition of Sarcopenia: Delphi Consensus from the Global Leadership Initiative in Sarcopenia (GLIS). Age Ageing, 2024. 53(3).

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