Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass as one ages. Up to 1% of muscle mass can be lost each year after age 50 (a).
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass as one ages.
Recent research suggests that sarcopenia and osteoporis are highly intertwined (b, c): "Not surprising, therefore, the decrease in muscle strength leads to lower bone strength". (b)
"Dysmobility syndrome" has been suggested as a name that combines loss of muscle and bone (d, e). The overall goal (clinically), being to identify all risk factors and conditions for fragility fractures.
Leading causes of sarcopenia include poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyle (f). Seniors can address these shortcomings by lifestyle improvements - eating better and getting exercise.
We propose that body composition be used to monitor activity and nutrition and educate and motivate seniors to make lifestyle changes that reduce risk of future fractures.
While DXA is the gold standard for measuring bone density, it also can very accurately measure body composition. DXA is widely being adopted as a reliable body composition tool. DXA captures fat, lean, and bone and the distribution of those elements in the body.
FitTrace has developed an app for DXA based body composition. The app electronically captures DXA body composition scans. DXA produces quite a bit of numerical data, which may not be intuitive to understand.
FitTrace presents the data in easy to understand ways.
While FitTrace has largely focused on the fitness and athletics markets we can adapt to for applications for bone health.
1) Educate seniors regarding the causes of sarcopenia (lack of exercise and poor nutrition) and motivate them by showing them their body composition. Here is a screenshot of chronic disease risk assessment based solely on a DXA scan (note this is based on published scientific research). Similar tools can be added to the FitTrace app for dysmobility syndrome.
2) Motivate and educate seniors about how changes in activity and nutrition affect their body composition over time. Seniors can actually see their bodies (muscle mass) change and compare progress with each other within the FitTrace app. See attached screenshot of a female on a weight loss program. Note the loss of fat, while muscle mass is maintained.
3) Family members, caregivers, health coordinators, and clinicians can monitor the seniors' progress. They are able to access a FitTrace user's body composition data. FitTrace allows sharing of DXA measurements at the user’s discretion. See screenshot of FitTrace dashboard with Share capability.
4) Most recently FitTrace integrated with Fitbit. Seniors can observe how increased activity (as measured by Fitbit) leads to improved health and decreased risk of fragility fractures (as well as sarcopenia). See this video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20uPQVZeJgQ&t=3s
5) Eventually, as FitTrace collects more data, the app may be able to identify users that are at high risk of future fractures, based on body composition. FitTrace could notify the senior, caregivers, and clinicians.
a) Sarcopenia Defined on Wikipedia
b) Sarcopenia and fragility fractures
Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2013 Feb;49(1):111-7.
c) The relationship between sarcopenia and fragility fracture-a systematic review
Osteoporos Int. 2019 Mar;30(3):541-553. doi: 10.1007/s00198-018-04828-0. Epub 2019 Jan 4.
d) What's in a name revisited: should osteoporosis and sarcopenia be considered components of "dysmobility syndrome?".
Osteoporos Int. 2013 Dec;24(12):2955-9. doi: 10.1007/s00198-013-2427-1. Epub 2013 Aug 1.
Binkley N1, Krueger D, Buehring B.
e) Prevalent fragility fractures as risk factor for skeletal muscle function deficit and dysmobility syndrome in post-menopausal women.
Aging Clin Exp Res. 2015 Oct;27 Suppl 1:S11-6. doi: 10.1007/s40520-015-0417-1. Epub 2015 Jul 24.
Iolascon G1, Moretti A2, Giamattei MT2, Migliaccio S3, Gimigliano F4.
f) Sarcopenia: What you need to know
Medical New Today; Friday, July 2017
MaryAnn de Pietro