Muscle weakness is a hallmark symptom of type 2 diabetes and could be recognized with a simple Handgrip strength test.
A simple Handgrip strength test to detect one of the most deadly diseases?
British and Finnish researchers suspect that the strength of a handgrip could help identify people with type 2 diabetes. This is an alternative to blood glucose monitoring, the current screening measure. The results of the study were published in the Annals of Medicine.
A 20-year study
Muscle weakness is one of the hallmarks of type 2 diabetes and can be tested with a handgrip strength test. To reach this conclusion, the researchers conducted their study with 776 volunteers aged between 69 and 72 years for almost 20 years. The patients were subjected to four resistance tests, which were performed with a hand dynamometer at four different points in time: at the beginning of the study, 4 years later, 11 years later and finally 20 years later. The results showed that the probability of being diabetic decreased by 50% with each additional unit of strength. This correlation is greater than several factors recognized as possible causes of diabetes: age, family history, smoking, high blood pressure, physical activity, and even blood sugar levels.
This provides a credible alternative to screening for the disease. “These results may have implications for the development of prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes,” confirms Kunutsor Sector, lead author of the study. Measuring the strength of a handgrip is simple, inexpensive, and does not require special knowledge or resources; it could potentially also be used for the early detection of people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Not the first study
To confirm these results, further studies are needed to consider the use of this diabetes detection strategy. In a previous meta-analysis of ten studies, the same researchers showed that people with a high handgrip strength have a 27% lower risk of developing the disease. The new study confirms that reduced muscle strength is one of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.