Posted on Feb 17, 2010, 6 a.m.
Among the oldest old (ages 85 years and over), poor or declining handgrip strength is associated with poor survival.
In that previous studies have consistently linked low handgrip strength to premature mortality, disability and other health complications in middle-aged and older people, Carolina H.Y. Ling, from Leiden University Medical Center (The Netherlands), and colleagues studied handgrip strength as an alternative way of measuring overall muscular strength and predicting survival and mortality in the oldest old (men and women ages 85 years and over). The team studied 555 individuals from the Leiden 85-plus survey, which enrolled all 85 year olds in Leiden, The Netherlands. Their handgrip strength was measured at 85 years and then again at age 89. The researchers found that low handgrip strength, both at 85 and 89 years, and a greater decline in strength over time are associated with increased all-cause mortality. The researchers also found that handgrip strength has a greater impact on mortality as people age. The team concludes that: “Handgrip strength, a surrogate measurement of overall muscular strength, is a predictor of allcause mortality in the oldest old population and may serve as a convenient tool for prognostication of mortality risk among elderly people.”
Carolina H.Y. Ling, Diana Taekema, Anton J.M. de Craen, Jacobijn Gussekloo, Rudi G.J. Westendorp, Andrea B Maier. “Handgrip strength and mortality in the oldest old population: the Leiden 85-plus study.” Canadian Medical Association Journal, February 8, 2010; CMAJ 10.1503/cmaj.091278.