Diabetes affects a significant number of people worldwide. Over 34 million Americans have diabetes, up to 95 percent of which is type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The condition most often develops in middle-aged people, and understanding your risk for type 2 diabetes can help you be proactive in getting tested for the disease—not to mention ensuring that you receive treatment as soon as you need it. A recent study found a quick trick that can help you, or a healthcare professional, determine your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A September study published by Annals of Medicine found that the strength of your handgrip could be used as a quick, inexpensive way for healthcare professionals to identify a patient’s risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Eastern Finland examined the handgrip strength of 776 people between the ages of 60-72 who had no history of diabetes. For the study, the subjects were asked to squeeze the handles of a handgrip dynamometer with their dominant hand using maximum effort for five consecutive seconds. With the results of this experiment, researchers found that the risk of type 2 diabetes was cut in half for every unit increase in handgrip strength.
While handgrip strength has consistently been associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers had not previously explored using this tool to help healthcare officials judge a patient’s likelihood of developing the disease. A June 2020 review of 10 studies found that people with higher values of handgrip strength had a 27 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, which paved the way for the more recent study.
Diminishing muscular strength, as measured by handgrip strength, can also be a sign of other ailments. As the study notes, reduced muscular strength has been linked to early death, cardiovascular disease, and other disabilities.
“These findings may have implications for the development of type 2 diabetes prevention strategies. Assessment of handgrip is simple, inexpensive, and does not require very skilled expertise and resources and could potentially be used in the early identification of individuals at high risk of future type 2 diabetes,” lead author Setor Kunutsor, MD, said in a statement. Using handgrip strength as a screener for a variety of disorders could become an effective way of assessing patients.
Wondering what other factors could predict your risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Read on to find out. And for ways to lower your risk, check out these 17 Habits Proven to Prevent Diabetes.