Background: The accelerated loss of muscle strength and mass observed in older type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients due to the combined effects of diabetes and obesity, greatly increases their risk for sarcopenia. Early detection and treatment of probable and confirmed sarcopenia is paramount to delay mobility disability. Using low handgrip strength cut-off points for the initial identification of sarcopenia according to the new European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP2) guidelines may mask the presence of sarcopenia. Relative knee extension strength cut-off points using a simple hand-held dynamometer can assist clinicians in the diagnosis of probable and confirmed sarcopenia by possibly reducing false negative results. Methods: A cohort of one hundred T2DM older patients (60% women) (mean age 74.5 years) mostly obese community dwelling older adults were evaluated for body composition by Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), yielding appendicular skeletal mass index (ASMI) results. Patients underwent handgrip strength (HGS) and knee extension strength (KES) tests as well as functional ability tests. Prevalence of probable and confirmed sarcopenia using HGS and KES cut-off points were calculated. Pearson correlations were performed to evaluate the relationship between ASMI and limbs strength. A regression analysis was conducted to examine which variables best predict ASMI values. A multivariate analysis of covariance was performed to assess the effect of independent variables on KES and HGS. Results: Using cutoff points for low KES identified 24 patients with probable sarcopenia and two with confirmed sarcopenia. Conversely, using the EWGSOP2 cut off points for low HGS, identified only one patient with probable sarcopenia and none of the patients with confirmed sarcopenia. Conclusion: KES cut-off points using a simple hand-held dynamometer can assist in the identification of probable and confirmed sarcopenia using EWGSOP2 cut off points for low muscle mass in a population of older T2DM patients for further analysis and early treatment. This is notably true in patients possessing high body mass index (BMI) alongside normal ASMI and HGS, potentially reducing false positive sarcopenia screening results. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov PRS: NCT03560375. Last registration date (last update): 06/06/2018. The trial was a-priori registered before actual recruitment of subjects.
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