Sarcopenia in aging humans: The impact of menopause and disease

E. T. Poehlman, M. J. Toth, P. S. Fishman, P. Vaitkevicius, S. S. Gottlieb, M. L. Fisher, T. Fonong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We examine the association of the menopause transition, congestive heart failure, and Parkinson's disease on body composition and energy expenditure. We present evidence suggesting that the normal menopausal transition is associated with accelerated loss of fat-free mass, a decline in resting metabolic rate, and increased central body fatness. Second, we show that the the cardiac cachexia associated with heart failure is partially due to an elevated level of energy expenditure. Despite having a lower quantity of fat- free mass, congestive heart failure patients have a higher resting metabolic rate (≃283 kcal/d) for their metabolic size than healthy elderly. The elevated level of resting energy expenditure probably contributes to their unexplained weight loss. Parkinson's patients experience muscular rigidity and tremor which could contribute to inappropriately high levels of energy expenditure and difficulty in maintaining body weight and composition. We examined resting metabolic rate and body composition in eight Parkinson's patients and 34 healthy age-matched controls. Parkinson's patients showed lower levels of fat-free mass (≃6 kg), but similar resting metabolic rates (1601 ± 250 kcal/d) versus healthy controls (1671 ± 212 kcal/d), suggesting a hypermetabolic state. A re-examination of daily energy needs and the metabolic factors contributing to periods of energy imbalance during the menopausal transition and in several disease states may be a prerequisite to offsetting accelerated sarcopenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue numberSPEC. ISSUE
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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