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Health Care Costs Associated With Muscle Weakness: A UK Population-Based

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sian RobinsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Sarcopenia and muscle weakness are responsible for considerable health care expenditure but little is known about these costs in the UK. To address this, we estimated the excess economic burden for individuals with muscle weakness regarding the provision of health and social care among 442 men and women (aged 71–80 years) who participated in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (UK). Muscle weakness, characterised by low grip strength, was defined according to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health criteria (men < 26 kg, women < 16 kg). Costs associated with primary care consultations and visits, outpatient and inpatient secondary care, medications, and formal (paid) as well as informal care for each participant were calculated. Mean total costs per person and their corresponding components were compared between groups with and without muscle weakness. Prevalence of muscle weakness in the sample was 11%. Mean total annual costs for participants with muscle weakness were £4592 (CI £2962–£6221), with informal care, inpatient secondary care and primary care accounting for the majority of total costs (38%, 23% and 19%, respectively). For participants without muscle weakness, total annual costs were £1885 (CI £1542–£2228) and their three highest cost categories were informal care (26%), primary care (23%) and formal care (20%). Total excess costs associated with muscle weakness were £2707 per person per year, with informal care costs accounting for 46% of this difference. This results in an estimated annual excess cost in the UK of £2.5 billion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pinedo-Villanueva R, Westbury LD, Syddall HE, Sanchez-Santos MT, Dennison EM, Robinson SM, Cooper C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Calcified Tissue International

Year: 2019

Volume: 104

Pages: 137-155

Print publication date: 15/02/2019

Online publication date: 22/09/2018

Acceptance date: 18/09/2018

Date deposited: 25/03/2019

ISSN (print): 0171-967X

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0827

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00223-018-0478-1


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Funder referenceFunder name
Arthritis Research UK
British Heart Foundation