According to new research published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, older men who have sarcopenia may be at a higher risk for diabetes. The study, which looked at age-related muscle loss and blood sugar regulation, did not find the same outcome in women.
The study analyzed data from 871 men and 984 women from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, with an average age of 60 years. They were followed for an average of 15 years and were required to participate in dual x-ray absorptiometry to measure body mass.
Researchers found that lower lean body mass with aging is associated with incident diabetes in men, but not in women.
“Age-related muscle loss may be an under-recognized target for interventions to prevent the development of diabetes in older adults,” said the study’s first author, Rita R. Kalyani, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “We found that relatively lower lean body mass with aging was related to a higher incidence of diabetes in men but not women, and partially related to body size.”
A Chronic Health Condition
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. It affects approximately 34.2 million Americans, with a large proportion of that number being adults aged 65 and older. As the skeletal muscle is the largest insulin-sensitive tissue in the body, it plays an essential role in blood sugar regulation, which is why this study is an important tool in recognizing a relationship between the two.
More research is needed to understand the association between age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, and how it may contribute to the development of diabetes in older adults. Researchers also hope to understand the difference between muscle loss and diabetes and why it only seems to affect men.
“Future studies that use more direct methods to assess skeletal muscle mass may give further insights into these relationships and the sex differences that we observed,” Kalyani concluded.