Australian researchers have found a link between poor grip strength and hypoxemia – low levels of oxygen in the blood.
Experts evaluated middle-aged and elderly men for grip strength and blood oxygen saturation, while measuring fat and body mass and adapting lifestyle information, such as diet, smoking status and physical activity.
They found a link between lower levels of oxygen saturation in the blood and weaker grip strength, regardless of whether their muscle mass was high or low.
Experts suggest that a reduced hand grip could be a telltale sign of hypoxemia, which interferes with heart and brain function by failing to deliver enough oxygen to the organs.
While the study showed a link between these two factors, “causation cannot be proven,” which means that it is not certain that lack of oxygen in the blood causes poor grip.
Study author Dr. David Stevens, of Flinders University in Adelaide, said: “While examining grip strength, my study does not show that people are likely to suffer from poor health later in life and die early (although there have been many studies showing this. ) “.
Instead, my study showed that regardless of male muscle mass, a worsening of hypoxaemia was associated with decreased grip strength.
Decreased grip strength is already linked to an increase in the severity of a group of chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease and COPD.
In this new study, the researchers originally aimed to determine the association between grip strength, muscle mass and fat mass, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially serious sleep disorder that could itself cause hypoxia.
The researchers evaluated 613 men, ages 40 to 88, for androgens, inflammation, lifestyle, environment and stress (MAILES), a long-term sample followed since 2009 to analyze the risk of heart disease and metabolism in men.
They used a Smedley analog dynamometer – a small handheld device with a dial – to measure the participants’ grip strength.
The experts also used a special type of X-ray called dual X-ray absorptiometry to determine the entire body’s muscle mass and fat mass.
The researchers found that decreased grip strength was associated with decreased isotope oxygen.
Professor Robert Adams at Flinders University says, regardless of the amount of muscle mass, a simple grip test can highlight the underlying issues associated with aging and worsening hypoxemia.
“Without good levels of oxygen in the blood, we cannot use the muscles that we have to the fullest,” he said.
Dr. Stevens acknowledged that the fact that all of the participants were male was an “inherent limitation” in the study, and meant that the results might not be generalizable to women.
The study is published in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep.
Source: Daily Mail