According to a new cross-continental study, a simple test to assess a person’s grip strength can be used to predict the onset of metabolic disease in middle or old-aged individuals.
In this study, the test locations, methodology and demographics were chosen for a reason. “Chronic diseases are highly prevalent in the U.S and China. There is a high need to find the mildfire predictors of diabetes and disability in both the countries,” says Mark Peterson, Ph.D., M.S., FACSM, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine.
This study examined whether normalized grip strength can be used as a biomarker for physical disability and cardiometabolic disease in American and Chinese populations.
Peterson, the lead author of this study collaborated colleagues from the U-M School of Public Health, Michigan Medicine’s Global REACH, the Institute for Social Science Survey and the National School of Development at Peking University in Beijing, China.
Peterson explained that “China represents a distinctive population which is the largest diabetic population in the world. This makes financial and health issues in the whole nation.”
The researchers made use of data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2012 and 2013 to 2014 and the 2011 section of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study. The muscle strength capacity and other required data related to cardiometabolic diseases and disability were found in this survey.
“We wanted to investigate grip strength in specific as it is more related with whole strength of the body. To measure a person’s grip with a help of handgrip dynamometer needs less only less than 10 seconds, which is helpful to implement in a clinical or community background at the population level,” clarifies Peterson.
Grip Strength and Its Connection with Metabolic Disease
The team of researchers assessed normalized grip strength of 6,030 Chinese and 4,544 U.S participants who were aged 50 years and older. Blood samples of participants were collected for nonfasting glycated hemoglobin and disabilities of functional limitation related to movements were recorded with a questionnaire. A subset of 2,225 participants tested with fasting measures for insulin, glucose and triglycerides.
Researchers evaluated the connection between normalized grip strength and hyperglycemia, diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, low HDL cholesterol and physical disability, with the help of weighted logistic regression models. They controlled for sex, age and various socio-demographic characteristics.
The greatest discovery of the study was that low normalized grip strength was highly connected with both physical disabilities and cardiometabolic diseases in middle to old aged adults irrespective of sex and both the U.S and Chinese nationalities.
“We hope these results show how significant a simple grip strength test might be in the clinical setting,” Peterson remarks. “It is a simple way to identify and screen patients who are at early risk for these health conditions.”
Written by Lax Mariappan Msc