Muscle Weakness Can Measure Health and Aging
With age, men and women experience muscle strength loss. McKnights reports about a new study that examined the relationship between lower grip strength and the speed of biological aging. Researchers believe grip strength measurement can be used for early clinical intervention.
The study was conducted at the University of Michigan and included 1,274 middle aged and older adults. Their measures of molecular aging and muscle strength were recorded between the years 2006 and 2008. Then their handgrip strength and biological age were tracked for eight to ten years.
In both men and women, a strong association was found between lower grip strength and biological aging speed. It is believed that maintaining muscle strength can help protect against common age-related diseases and also help slow the speed of aging.
Mark Peterson, PhD, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, stated, “We’ve known that muscular strength is a predictor of longevity, and that weakness is a powerful indicator of disease and mortality, but for the first time we have found strong evidence of a biological link between muscle weakness and actual acceleration in biological age.” He believes knowing muscle strength can help predict future diseases and mortality.
Currently, some geriatricians use grip strength to measure different health concerns, but it is not as widely used as Peterson would like it to. He is hoping more clinicians use this factor. According to him, “Screening for grip strength would allow for the opportunity to design interventions to delay or prevent the onset or progression of these adverse age-related health events. Not many people are using this, even though we’ve seen hundreds of publications showing that grip strength is a really good measure of health.”
Staying physically active can help maintain muscle strength and lower all-cause mortality. Read more.
Cornerstone Rehab clinicians provide physical, occupational and speech therapy services to older adults in skilled nursing facilities. With rehabilitation therapy, older adults can maintain their health and muscle strength.