Weak grip strength can indicate serious health problems: study | Health

According to a recent study, checking hand grip strength is a quick and easy way to determine muscle strength, a significant predictor of death.

In a recent study, researchers established breakpoints for the general population, considering the relationship between hand grip strength and gender, height and age for use in clinical practice. The research results were published in the journal BMJ Open.

Most people don’t think twice about doing things like opening pickle jars or carrying groceries, but grip strength is a powerful screening tool for various health conditions. When a person’s hand strength is low, it can be an indication of underlying health problems – and it’s not just in the elderly: hand strength has been linked to health problems from a young age.

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A large number of studies have shown that poor hand grip strength can be a manifestation of health issues related to heart and lung problems. Some studies have also found that people with poor grip strength have a shorter life expectancy.

What is missing for clinical practice are empirically meaningful breakpoints that apply to the general population, taking into account the correlation of hand grip strength with gender and body size and the age-related decrease in hand grip strength.

In their study just published in the journal BMJ Open, IIASA researcher Sergei Scherbov; Sonja Spitzer, postdoc at the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital and the University of Vienna; and Nadia Steiber from the University of Vienna tried to clarify the grip strength from which a doctor should send a patient for further examination.

The results of the study provide standardized thresholds that directly link hand grip strength to remaining life expectancy, enabling physicians to identify patients at risk of mortality early.

“In general, hand grip strength depends on a person’s gender, age, and height. Our task was to find the handgrip strength threshold that would signal a physician to perform further investigations when a patient’s handgrip strength is below this threshold. It is similar to measuring blood pressure. If the blood pressure is outside a certain range, the doctor can either decide to prescribe a certain drug or to send the patient to a specialist for further examination,” explains Scherbov.

Grip strength is measured by squeezing a dynamometer with one hand. In the study, the patient is asked to perform two trials with each hand, using the best trial for measurement. There is a special protocol for this process, since the values ​​can depend, among other things, on whether the test was carried out while standing or sitting.

In contrast to previous studies, the authors did not compare the grip strength of individuals with a healthy reference population, but with individuals who are comparable in terms of gender, age and height. The results indicate an increase in mortality risk at a threshold that is more sensitive than that estimated in previous studies.

In fact, the results show that hand grip strength that is only slightly below the average of a comparable population (taking into account a person’s gender, age, and height) indicates health conditions that lead to earlier death. A stronger hand grip has not been found to reduce the risk of mortality compared to others of the same age, gender and height.

“Handle strength is cheap and the test is easy to administer, but it can help in the early detection of health problems and other underlying public health conditions of aging populations.” Our results make it clear that hand grip strength is a very precise and sensitive measure of underlying health conditions. Therefore, we propose to use them as a screening tool in medical practice,” notes Steiber.

“It is important to note that we are not suggesting that people should specifically train hand grip strength to reduce the risk of mortality. If someone improves their hand grip strength through exercise, it will most likely have little or no effect on their overall health. However, low hand grip strength can serve as an indicator of disability as it reflects low muscle strength, which is associated with a higher risk of death. A healthy lifestyle and exercise are still the best approaches to maintaining or improving good health in the long term.” , concludes Spitzer.

This story was published from a wire agency feed with no changes to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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