A cross-sectional study: Associations between sarcopenia and clinical characteristics of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Medicine. 2020;99(2):e18708

Plain language summary

Sarcopenia is characterised by the loss of muscle mass, decrease of muscle strength and decline of physical performance and is related to reduced physical ability, impaired cardiorespiratory function, disability and death in the elderly. Type 2 diabetics are at higher risk of developing sarcopenia. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate clinical characteristics of sarcopenia in elderly type 2 diabetics in the Northeast of China. 132 participants completed the study which was based on self-reported medical and lifestyle history, and clinical evaluations including measurements of weight, height and muscle strength, imaging to establish sarcopenia and blood tests. 28.8% of participants had sarcopenia. Age, increased truncal fat mass and increased free thyroxine increased the risk of sarcopenia, whilst regular exercise, being female, taking metformin, a higher body mass index and increased trunk skeletal mass were associated with a lower risk of sarcopenia. The authors point out that limitations include the small sample size and that, as this is a cross-sectional study, cause and effect cannot be established.


Sarcopenia is a geriatric syndrome and it impairs physical function. Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are at a higher risk of sarcopenia. The purpose of this study is to explore characteristics of general information and metabolic factors of sarcopenia in patients with T2DM in the northeast of China, and provide information for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia in clinical practice.Patients with T2DM aged ≥65 were recruited in Changchun from March 2017 to February 2018. Questionnaires of general information, physical examination, laboratory and imaging examination were conducted. The patients were assigned into sarcopenia group and non-sarcopenia group according to the diagnostic criteria proposed by Asian working group for sarcopenia (AWGS), and the differences between 2 groups were analyzed.A total of 132 participants were included in this study, of which, 38 (28.8%) were diagnosed with sarcopenia. 94 (71.2%) were with no sarcopenia. Logistic regression analysis showed that age (OR: 1.182, 95%CI: 1.038-1.346), trunk fat mass (TFM) (OR: 1.499, 95%CI: 1.146-1.960) and free thyroxine (FT4) (OR: 1.342, 95%CI: 1.102-1.635) were independent risk factors for sarcopenia. BMI (body mass index) (OR: 0.365, 95%CI: 0.236-0.661), exercise (OR: 0.016, 95%CI: 0.001-0.169), female (OR: 0.000, 95%CI: 0.00-0.012), metformin (OR: 0.159, 95%CI: 0.026-0.967) and TSM (trunk skeletal muscle mass) (OR: 0.395, 95%CI: 0.236-0.661) were protective factors for sarcopenia.Sarcopenia in patients with T2DM is associated with increased age, increased TFM and increased FT4 level. Regular exercise, female, metformin administrations, high BMI and increased TSM are associated with lower risk of sarcopenia.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Hormonal ; Structural
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Type 2 diabetes/sarcopenia
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Physical exercise
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition ; Exercise and movement
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood ; Imaging

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article ; Observational Study


Nutrition Evidence keywords : Type 2 diabetes mellitus