-penia- (s), -penias (pl), -penic, pen-, penia- +

(Greek > Modern Latin: abnormal reduction, decrease in, insufficient, deficiency. Originally, the meaning was poverty, need; sometimes it is erroneously or incorrectly rendered as -poenia)

Currently defined as the age-related loss of muscle mass, or size, strength, and function; resulting in muscle deterioration which is a major reason that elderly people lose mobility and cannot live independently.

Experts say that the best approach to restoring or of maintaining muscle strength and function is exercise; especially, resistance training; in other words, muscle-strengthening and muscle-building exercises can prevent or reverse much of this problem of sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia contributes to the pathogenesis of frailty. Among the factors responsible for sarcopenia; such as proinflammatory cytokines (various proteins, secreted by cells), low growth hormone and testosterone levels, increased production of oxygen free radicals, malnutrition and reduced neurological drive, immobility and lack of exercise have a dominant role; therefore, the diagnosis of frailty is mandatory for the early identification of elderly subjects at high risk, which can receive benefit from rehabilitation.

A self-report and objective evaluation of physical performance are the best indicators of frailty in elderly subjects, a poor performance suggesting the need of an early and proper intervention.

Structured exercise programs are effective in diminishing the progression of frailty, but a healthy and active lifestyle may also be sufficient for delaying the onset of disability in some people.

To summarize, there is clear evidence for a prescription of exercise within the mainstream of medical practice for the elderly.

The word sarcopenia was coined in the late 1980' or early 1990's by William J. Evans and Irwin Rosenberg, who used it in their 1991 published book, Biomarkers: The 10 Determinants of Aging You Can Control.

—Compiled excerpts from
"As muscles wither, opportunity emerges" by Andrew Pollack;
The Global Edition of the New York Times
via the International Herald Tribune; September 1, 2010; page 15.
Also from information which is located at
Paul McFedries, "Word Spy".
A reference to the age-related loss or withering of muscle strength and functions.

Besides the probability of muscle loss from hormonal changes, sedentary lifestyles, oxidative damage, and the infiltration of fat into the muscles; some of the problems may also be a result of the deterioration of the brain and nervous system, both of which are responsible for activating the muscles.

Deficiency of iron in the system, usually caused by blood loss, low dietary levels of iron, or a disease condition that inhibits iron uptake.
A reference to an abnormally low concentration of serum iron in the blood.
thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenic, thrombopenia
A reduced number of platelets in the blood.