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01-09-2011 | Bone health | Article

Handgrip strength predicts risk of osteoporotic fractures


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MedWire News: Study results shows that handgrip strength (HGS) is a strong predictor of risk of osteoporotic fractures in people aged 50 years or older.

Noting that handgrip strength is used an indicator of general muscle strength, Ching-Lung Cheung (The University of Hong Kong, China) and colleagues studied whether HGS could help predict osteoporotic fractures in an older population.

As reported in the journal AGE, the authors studied a cross-sectional cohort of southern Chinese men and women (n=2793; mean age 60 years), a subset of whom eventually enrolled in the prospective Hong Kong Osteoporosis Study (n=1702). Baseline HGS was measured with a dynamometer, and BMD was measured through dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Spinal X-rays were reviewed for evidence of fracture, and participants were also asked about any history of spinal, hip, distal forearm, or proximal humeral fracture.

Overall, 6.6% of postmenopausal women and 38.2% of men aged 50 years and older in the cohort were diagnosed with osteoporosois, defined as a T-score of -2.5 at the hip or spine. Fragility fractures at the spine, hip, distal forearm, and proximal humerus had occurred in 10.5% of men and 29.4% of women.

In the cohort group, there were moderate but significant correlations between HGS and both hip and spine BMD. In a univariate model, each standard deviation decrease in HGS score and BMD score was associated with a 2.20-fold and 3.32-fold increased odds for fracture, respectively. Results were similar in a multivariate model with respective 1.24- and 2.13-fold increases after adjusting for clinical risk factors, such as age, presence of prevalent fracture, and a history of falls.

Prospective study data for 4855 person-years, at an average of 2.9 years per participant, were examined by Cheung and colleagues. During this time 43 fragility fractures occurred at a rate of 886 cases per 1000,000 person-years.

These data also indicated that both reduced HGS and femoral neck (FN) BMD scores correlated with an increased risk of fracture in both the univariate and multivariate models, echoing the cohort findings.

The combined data lead the authors to conclude that there is "evidence that HGS is a predictor of future fracture risk and may be applied in addition to BMD as a diagnostic tool in assessing risk of fracture."

Since the prospective study is still ongoing, they researchers say they expect a "strong association between HGS and fracture risk to persist in future large-scale [analyses]."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Stephanie Leveene

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