Sarcopenia more prevalent among menopausal women without vasomotor symptoms
Menopausal women experiencing vasomotor symptoms are less likely to have sarcopenia compared with those who do not have vasomotor symptoms, according to a study published in Menopause.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to reveal the association between vasomotor symptoms and sarcopenia assessed by skeletal muscle mass measured by abdominal CT,” Hyuntae Park, MD, PhD, a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Korea University College of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “CT and readily available software for image analysis have made it possible to accurately assess skeletal muscle and fat, and CT-assessed sarcopenia has been investigated, particularly among cancer survivors. However, considering the various existing methodologies and definitions of sarcopenia, further longitudinal studies with comprehensive and validated diagnoses of sarcopenia are needed to confirm our findings.”
Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of 295 postmenopausal women (mean age, 54.9 years) who visited Korea University Anam Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, for a routine medical visit between January 2014 and May 2016 and underwent abdominal CT. Vasomotor symptoms were self-reported using a questionnaire based on the Menopause Rating Scale. Participants underwent plane imaging of the nonenhanced phase CT at the level of the transverse process of the third lumbar spine. Skeletal mass index was measured by normalizing skeletal muscle area to the square of a participant’s height. Sarcopenia was defined as having a skeletal mass index of less than 34.9 cm2/m2.
Of the study cohort, 160 women reported having some vasomotor symptoms, with 86 defining their symptoms as mild, 48 as moderate, 18 as severe and eight as very severe.
There were 36 participants with sarcopenia. A higher proportion of women without vasomotor symptoms had sarcopenia compared with those who reported vasomotor symptoms (18.5% vs. 6.9%; P = .002).
In multivariate analysis, sarcopenia was associated with a lower likelihood for vasomotor symptoms (OR = 0.32; 95% CI, 0.15-0.67; P = .003). When the four muscle indexes were used as covariates in place of sarcopenia, paraspinal muscle index was positively associated with the prevalence of vasomotor symptoms (OR = 1.15; 95% CI, 1.04-1.27; P = .005).
“Our data provide the first evidence that vasomotor symptoms are independently associated with skeletal muscle mass measured by CT and occurs less frequently in CT-assessed women with sarcopenia than in healthy Korean menopausal women,” the researchers wrote. “Considering that vasomotor symptoms are some of the major reasons that middle-aged women visit hospitals, health care providers should consider that menopausal women without vasomotor symptoms also need to be screened carefully given the high risk of sarcopenia observed in this study.”
The researchers said longitudinal studies are needed to confirm causal relationships between vasomotor symptoms, skeletal muscle indices and sarcopenia, as well as to examine possible mechanisms.