Glycaemia and hand grip strength in aging people: Guangzhou biobank cohort study

BMC Geriatr. 2020 Oct 12;20(1):399. doi: 10.1186/s12877-020-01808-0.


Background: There is a link between hyperglycemia and mechanical functions of muscle. However, existing evidence of the association between hyperglycemia and weaker muscle strength is limited and inconsistent. We examined whether glycemic status was associated with relative grip strength (RGS) in older Chinese.

Methods: In 2008-2012, 9180 participants (2516 men and 6664 women) from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study had fasting and 2-h post-load glucose measured. Glycemic status was categorized as normoglycaemia, prediabetes (i.e., impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance) and diabetes. RGS was assessed using a Jamar Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer divided by body mass index. General linear model was used to assess the association of glycemic status with RGS.

Results: After adjusting for age, smoking status, alcohol use, physical activity, health status, body fat percentage and waist circumference, in men, hyperglycemia was associated with a lower RGS, with the RGS being 1.38 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.34, 1.42) in normoglycaemia, 1.35 (95% CI = 1.30, 1.39) in prediabetes, 1.33 (95% CI = 1.29, 1.38) in newly diagnosed diabetes and 1.32 (95% CI = 1.27, 1.37) in known diabetes (P for trend < 0.001). The association of glycemic status with RGS was non-significant in women. Among the normoglycaemic group, no association was found between fasting glucose and RGS in men, whereas a significantly inverse association was found in women, with adjusted β for RGS per mmol/l increase in fasting glucose being - 0.05 to - 0.04 (P values from 0.002 to 0.03).

Conclusions: Higher fasting glucose was associated with reduced grip strength in a dose-response manner, and the association was significant even in women with normoglycaemia. Our findings suggest that lowering glucose across the whole range might be important in preserving muscle strength, especially in aging women.

Keywords: Glycaemia; Grip strength; Normoglycaemia; Prediabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Biological Specimen Banks
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / diagnosis
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology*
  • Male


  • Blood Glucose