Friday, May 22, 2015

Grip Strength and Cardiovascular Disease Risk

An interesting new study published in The Lancet adds additional evidence to the hypothesis that reduced muscular strength is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study determined the grip strength of nearly 140,000 men between the ages of 35 and 70 years, in 17 countries. Then they followed them for a median of four years, during which time 3,379 of the men (2%) died.

After controlling for other variables such as age, there was a positive association between grip strength and death from cardiovascular disease, including both myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke. Specifically, every 11-lb reduction in grip strength was associated with a 17% increase in death from cardiovascular disease. Grip strength was even a stronger predictor of death from cardiovascular disease than was systolic blood pressure. There was no association between grip strength and the risks of diabetes, hospital admissions for respiratory disease, or accidents.

The authors suggest that grip strength may be a simple, inexpensive, and quick way to categorize (in very general terms) a person's risk of death from cardiovascular disease. But don't read too much into this. An association between grip strength and risk of cardiovascular disease does not mean that reduced grip strength is the cause of the increased cardiovascular risk. It's just a useful predictive tool, nothing more.

No comments: