Handgrip Strength Asymmetry and Weakness Are Associated With Future Morbidity Accumulation in Americans

TitleHandgrip Strength Asymmetry and Weakness Are Associated With Future Morbidity Accumulation in Americans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsKlawitter, L, Vincent, B, Choi, B-J, Smith, J, Hammer, KD, Jurivich, DA, Dahl, LJ, McGrath, RP
JournalThe Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
KeywordsChronic disease, Exercise, Mass Screening, Risk Factors, sarcopenia

Identifying strength asymmetries in physically deconditioned populations may help in screening and treating persons at risk for morbidities linked to muscle dysfunction. Our investigation sought to examine the associations between handgrip strength (HGS) asymmetry and weakness on accumulating morbidities in aging Americans. The analytic sample included 18,506 Americans aged ≥50 years from the 2006–2016 Health and Retirement Study. Handgrip strength was measured on each hand with a handgrip dynamometer, and persons with an imbalance in strength >10% between hands had HGS asymmetry. Men with HGS <26 kg and women with HGS <16 kg were considered as weak. Subjects reported the presence of healthcare provider–diagnosed morbidities: hypertension, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis, and psychiatric problems. Covariate-adjusted ordinal generalized estimating equations analyzed the associations for each HGS asymmetry and weakness group on future accumulating morbidities. Of those included in our study, subjects at baseline were aged 65.0 ± 10.2 years, 9,570 (51.7%) had asymmetric HGS, and 996 (5.4%) were weak. Asymmetry alone and weakness alone were associated with 1.09 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04–1.14) and 1.27 (CI: 1.11–1.45) greater odds for future accumulating morbidities, respectively. Having both HGS asymmetry and weakness was associated with 1.46 (CI: 1.29–1.65) greater odds for future accumulating morbidities. Handgrip-strength asymmetry, as another potential indicator of impaired muscle function, is associated with future morbidity status during aging. Exercise professionals and related practitioners should consider examining asymmetry and weakness with handgrip dynamometers as a simple and noninvasive screening method for helping to determine muscle dysfunction and future chronic disease risk.

Citation Key12001
PubMed ID34941610