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Longevity Aging Frailty Musculoskeletal

A Simple Measure Of Longevity and Health: Hand Grip Strength

1 year, 6 months ago

8325  0
Posted on Aug 31, 2022, 4 a.m.

Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world's top cardiologists, best-selling author, lecturer, and a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and holistic care.

Muscle strength is a powerful predictor of mortality that can quickly and inexpensively be assessed by measuring handgrip strength (HGS). What is missing for clinical practice, however, are meaningful measurements that apply to the general population and that consider the correlation of HGS with gender, body height, as well as the decline in HGS during processes of normal aging.

 A new study provided standardized measurements that directly link HGS to remaining life expectancy, allowing the detection of those with an increased mortality risk early on.  

How strong do you need to be?

Design: Relying on data from the Health and Retirement Study, the HGS of participants was standardized by gender, age, and body height. Researchers defined six HGS groups and used these groupings as predictors of survival. A 9-year follow-up after measurement of HGS was achieved.

Participants: 8156 US American women and men aged 50–80 years.

Main outcome measure:  HGS and all-cause mortality.

Results: Even slight negative performance in HGS from the reference group had substantial negative effects on observed survival. The remaining life expectancy among individuals aged 60 years with a below-average HGS was 3.0/1.4 years lower for men/women than for the reference group, increasing to a difference of 4.1/2.6 years in the group with HGS of the lowest measurements. By contrast, we find no benefit of strong HGS related to survival.

Conclusions: HGS varies substantially with gender, age, and body height. Above average HGS was not shown to predict longer life expectancy BUT even small decreases in HGS from expected did predict shorter lifespans.  Early measurements of hand grip strength as a marker of weakness and frailty, with programs instituted to increase body strength and prevention of falls, may avoid some early deaths related to frailty.  

About the author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that he truly began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine.

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