Cause for Frailty in Elderly

Anorexia in elderly persons can be dangerous when muscle weakness follows

(RxWiki News) Getting proper nutrition is important for older people to maintain strength and muscle mass. Frailty can come from not getting enough to eat.

A recent study looked at eating habits and frailty in an elderly group. Results from the study suggested that lack of nutrition in people over 80 effected their strength. Which means, seniors need to consume a balanced diet too.

"Make sure grandma eats!"

Francesco Landi, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics at the Catholic University in Rome, Italy, led an investigation into frailty and anorexia in the elderly.

Authors said, “Weight loss due to anorexia of aging has been mentioned as one of the most prevalent problems in older populations…”

Data was collected from an ongoing geriatric study in central Italy - il SIRENTE.

For this study, 354 people aged 80 or older were evaluated for loss of appetite and/or lower food intake and sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia is low muscle mass, strength and physical performance associated with aging and is often called ‘frailty’.

Researchers found that 21 percent of the group had anorexia and 29 percent had sarcopenia.

A total of 47 percent of the group with anorexia also had sarcopenia, while only 25 percent had sarcopenia without also having anorexia.

Authors concluded that anorexia put people over 80 at a higher risk for muscle and strength frailty.

Authors said, “Scientific evidence indicated that a significant number of frail elderly people fail to get proper amount of food necessary to meet essential energy and nutrient needs.”

This study was published in August in the European Journal of Nutrition. No financial could be located and no conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
September 4, 2012