Easy-to-measure grip strength test could help predict major disease risk

New research, led by the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences (ICAMS) and published in the British Medical Journal, found that lower grip strength was strongly associated with a wide range of poorer health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The study also demonstrated that higher grip strength was associated with a lower risk of all causes of mortality.

Image of a hand gripping a weight machine

The grip strength test takes a few seconds to do and researchers suggest that the addition of this test within clinical practice could improve the prediction ability of an office-based risk score (currently assessing age, gender, diabetes status, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and smoking), by identifying people with low grip strength that might benefit from further health assessments. Researchers believe that this may be of particular use in areas where access to blood biochemical measures, such as cholesterol, is not possible.

Lead author Dr Stuart Gray, Lecturer in Exercise and Metabolic Health in ICAMS, said: “Our findings are important because they indicate that the addition of the measurement of grip strength may be useful in screening for risk of cardiovascular disease in community or rural settings, and in developing countries where access to measurements, such as total cholesterol, is not possible.

First published: 26 June 2018