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Minerva Gastroenterology 2021 May 14

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5985.21.02886-2

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Fatigue, sarcopenia, and frailty in older adults with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Federica BELLONE, Alberto SARDELLA, Marco MUSCIANISI, Giorgio BASILE

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Italy


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Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are characterized by a multifactorial clinical picture, in which age-related physical, functional and psychological symptoms may coexist. The accurate evaluation and identification of such symptomatology acquires considerable importance in the context of older adults, since those core factors typical of IBD may also expose older patients to an increased risk for age-related negative outcomes, such as frailty and disability. The purpose of the present review was to provide an updated overview on the evaluation and management of IBD in the elderly population, with regard to fatigue, sarcopenia, and frailty. The assessment of fatigue might contribute to the identification of early symptoms of IBD, such as pain and mood disorders, which should be treated timely to offer elderly patient a better quality of life. Similarly, an accurate evaluation of sarcopenia might represent a useful prognostic index to identify those patients at risk of developing physical frailty. Frailty in IBD should be evaluated not only in relation to the occurrence of negative outcomes, but also should be considered itself as an outcome itself in IBD. A recommendation for future research on this topic might be the implementation of randomized trials, which include older adults and evaluate fatigue, sarcopenia, and frailty. Similarly, the development of tailored intervention programs, based on both physical and psychological outcomes, with the purpose of improving patients’ adaptation to the disease, and monitoring the evolution of symptoms and the response to therapies over time, should be encouraged.


KEY WORDS: Inflammatory bowel disease; Fatigue; Sarcopenia; Frailty; Clinical psychology

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