In a new study, researchers found that older men who have lower lean body mass as they age are more prone to developing diabetes, while similar findings were not found in older women.
The research was conducted by a team at Johns Hopkins University.
One in four adults aged 65 and older has diabetes, making them the group with the greatest burden of diabetes.
Skeletal muscle is the largest insulin-sensitive tissue in the body and plays an essential role in blood sugar regulation.
Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, may contribute to the development of diabetes in older adults.
The team says age-related muscle loss may be an under-recognized target for interventions to prevent the development of diabetes in older adults.
They studied 871 men and 984 women, with an average age of 60 years at the initial visit, from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, who were followed up to 15 years.
They used Dual X-ray Absorptiometry and found that lower lean body mass with aging is associated with incident diabetes in men but not women.
They 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.
The researchers say that 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.
The lead author of the study is Rita R. Kalyani, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
The study is published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.
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