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Long-term conditions, multimorbidity, lifestyle factors and change in grip strength over 9 years of follow-up: findings from 44,315 UK Biobank participants

Hurst, Christopher and Murray, James C and Granic, Antoneta and Hillman, Susan J and Cooper, Rachel and Sayer, Avan A and Robinson, Sian M and Dodds, Richard M (2021) Long-term conditions, multimorbidity, lifestyle factors and change in grip strength over 9 years of follow-up: findings from 44,315 UK Biobank participants. Age and Ageing. ISSN 0002-0729 (In Press)

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Abstract

Background Weak grip strength is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes and an accelerated decline in grip strength confers an even greater risk. The factors associated with change in grip strength in mid-life remain to be fully determined. Methods We used data from 44,315 UK Biobank participants who had grip strength measured at baseline (2006-10) and a subsequent visit approximately nine years later. At baseline, participants’ long-term conditions (LTCs) were categorised against a hierarchy, with multimorbidity characterised by the number of LTC categories. Lifestyle factors were assessed. Change in grip strength was grouped into four patterns: decline, stable low, stable high or reference (no change or increase) and used as the outcome in multinomial logistic regression. Results Most LTC categories were associated with adverse patterns of change in grip strength (stable low and/or decline): for example, musculoskeletal / trauma conditions were associated with an increased risk of the stable low pattern (Relative Risk Ratio [RRR]=1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.49-1.79). Multimorbidity and lifestyle factors had independent associations with grip strength change. Those with 3+ categories of LTCs were more likely to experience decline in grip strength (RRR=1.18; 95% CI: 1.08-1.28) compared to those with none. Low physical activity was associated with adverse patterns of grip strength, while raised body mass index (BMI) had divergent associations. Conclusions Individuals living with multimorbidity and those with lifestyle risk factors such as low physical activity are at increased risk of low muscle strength and the loss of strength over time.

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