Handgrip strength is associated with risks of new-onset stroke and heart disease: results from 3 prospective cohorts

BMC Geriatr. 2023 May 4;23(1):268. doi: 10.1186/s12877-023-03953-8.


Background: Stroke and heart disease are two major contributors to the global disease burden. We aimed to evaluate and compare the roles of different handgrip strength (HGS) expressions in predicting stroke and heart disease in three nationally representative cohorts.

Methods: This longitudinal study used data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), and the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). The Cox proportional hazard model was applied to analyze the relationship between HGS and stroke and heart disease, and Harrell's C index was used to assess the predictive abilities of different HGS expressions.

Results: A total of 4,407 participants suffered from stroke and 9,509 from heart disease during follow-up. Compared with the highest quartile, participants in the lowest quartile of dominant HGS, absolute HGS and relative HGS possessed a significantly higher risk of new-onset stroke in Europe, America, and China (all P < 0.05). After adding HGS to office-based risk factors, there were minimal or no differences in the increases of Harrell's C indexes among three HGS expressions. In contrast, the modest association between HGS and heart disease was only seen in SHARE and HRS, but not in CHARLS.

Conclusion: Our findings support that HGS can be used as an independent predictor of stroke in middle-aged and older European, American and Chinese populations, and the predictive ability of HGS may not depend on how it is expressed. The relationship between HGS and heart disease calls for further validation.

Keywords: Cohort study; Handgrip strength; Heart disease; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Hand Strength
  • Heart Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke* / diagnosis
  • Stroke* / epidemiology