Background: Muscle mass is known to be associated with mortality in elderly adults. Because hand grip strength (HGS) is known as a simple assessment tool for muscular strength, many researchers have studied the association between HGS and disease. However, empirical evidence for the relationship between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and HGS is still controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between COPD and HGS, using Korean population data.
Methods: This was a population-based cross-sectional study. Data were obtained from the sixth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was conducted from 2013 to 2015. To reduce the effects of HGS-related factors and potential confounding factors, propensity score matching was used to match subjects with and without COPD.
Results: Among 14,930 subjects, 832 were enrolled in each group (non-COPD and COPD) after propensity score matching. COPD subjects did not have lower HGS than non-COPD subjects (non-COPD vs COPD, male, 38.0±7.0 vs 38.9±7.0 kg, P=0.044, female, 23.8±4.6 vs 24.2±4.9 kg, P=0.342). Lung function was classified by Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stages and was not significantly associated with HGS. For male COPD subjects, there was a significant correlation between HGS and the EuroQol Five-Dimension Questionnaire (EQ5D) utility score index, which is an indicator of quality of life that adjusts for age and body mass index (r=0.201, P<0.001). The correlation was absent for female subjects (r=0.098, P=0.170).
Conclusion: COPD subjects did not have lower HGS than non-COPD subjects. HGS did not associate with lung function. However, the HGS of male COPD subjects was positively associated with EQ5D utility score index, an indicator of quality of life. HGS may be helpful as an additional method to the evaluation of quality of life in male COPD patients.
Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; hand strength; quality of life.