Dr Helen Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in Academic Geriatric Medicine at the University of Southampton.
Older (and middle-aged) people with low muscle strength are at risk of poor current and future health. Grip strength is often used as a proxy for general muscle strength and is most easily measured using the maximum grip strength a participant can generate when asked to squeeze the handle of a small hand held device (see photograph) with each hand while seated, using a standard protocol (see our research paper). Research among people living in their own homes has shown that low grip strength, defined as < 20kg for women and < 30kg for men, is associated with a higher risk of frailty, difficulty walking, falls and fractures, more admissions to hospital, poor quality of life and an increased risk of death. This is costly to both the individual and to society. However the grip strength of people who need rehabilitation or live in care homes has been little studied. Continue reading