People with diabetes who have strong grips are more likely to live longer, according to research.
Increased grip strength was also shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with diabetes who have a weaker grip.
The study team from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences advocate that their findings could be used to help indicate a subgroup of people with diabetes and low grip strength who may have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers examined records from a large health database called the UK Biobank, comparing a total of 347,130 adults to explore relationships between grip strength and diabetes and the subsequent health consequences.
After an average follow-up period of just under five years, 4,301 people went on to develop cardiovascular disease and 6,209 died.
The researchers found that people with diabetes (the majority in the study had type 2 diabetes) and who had stronger grips had less risk of all-cause mortality, lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease mortality and lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. These associations were similar in both genders and across age groups.
Speaking to Endocrine Today, researcher Dr Stuart Gray said: “Accumulating evidence suggests that grip strength can help in prediction of future CVD [cardiovascular disease], and it may be worth considering measuring this in patients. Secondly, it may be prudent, when recommending people to participate in physical activity, to remember to emphasize the importance of maintaining muscle strength.”
This type of study cannot show causality between grip strength and these health markers but the researchers insist that maintenance of muscle strength is important for people with diabetes.
The findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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