Diabetes: Declining grip as a possible indicator?

Diabetes: Declining grip as a possible indicator?

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How is our grip related to diabetes?

Can our grip reliably indicate an increased risk of diabetes? A study has now found evidence that weakening grip strength could actually be a time-efficient screening tool for type 2 diabetes.

The recent study by Oakland University found that decreasing grip strength could indicate an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Muscle weakness in diabetes

It is already known that muscle weakness in otherwise apparently healthy adults can be associated with type 2 diabetes. So far, however, no way has been found to reliably assess this. In the current study, consistent values ​​of grip strength in relation to body weight, gender and age group could now be identified in a large, nationally representative sample, on the basis of which the risk of diabetes can be estimated, reports the research team.

Results could lead to new tests

The study determined the strength or weakness of the handle, which correlates with type 2 diabetes in otherwise healthy men and women according to their body weight and age. This could lead to a reliable, easy-to-perform test to identify a risk early, before complications arise.

Where did the evaluated data come from?

For their current study, the researchers analyzed the data from national health and nutritional examinations from 2011 to 2012 and 2013 to 2014 in order to determine intersection points (grip strength in relation to body weight) for type 2 diabetes risk. Inexpensive portable handle dynamometers were used to determine the hand and forearm strength.

Grip force was compared to typical intersection points

After checking the sociodemographic data, lifestyle factors and waist size, the researchers identified the grip strength of otherwise healthy high-risk patients. These values ​​are shown with age and gender-specific grip force intersections, which correspond to different body weights. This can indicate when further diagnostic tests for diabetes are warranted.

Lower grip strength indicates an increased risk

For example, the typical intersection score for women aged 50 to 80 is 0.49. For example, if the combined grip strength of a 60-year-old woman from the left and right hand is 43 kg and her body weight is 90 kg, her grip strength is rated at 0.478. Since this value is less than 0.49, this indicates that the person has an increased risk of diabetes and further investigation would be warranted.

Test would be inexpensive and quick

In view of the low cost, minimal training requirements, and the speed of the assessment, the use of the intersections of normal grip strength described in this study could be used in routine screenings to identify risk patients and improve diagnosis, the researchers report.

Earlier testing could avoid many complications

More and more people are diagnosed with diabetes, although the disease usually remains asymptomatic in the initial stages. In the long term, however, there is a risk of damage to the blood vessels and symptoms such as neuropathy (nervous disorders), retinopathy (retinal disease) and nephropathy (kidney disease). Early diagnosis could help prevent complications from occurring. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Elise C. Brown, PhD, Duncan S. Buchan, PhD, Samar A. Madi, MS, Breanne N. Gordon, BS, Dorin Drignei, PhD: Grip Strength Cut Points for Diabetes Risk AmongApparently Healthy U.S. Adults, in American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Published 2020), American Journal of Preventive Medicine

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