The association of grip strength from midlife onwards with all-cause and cause-specific mortality over 17 years of follow-up in the Tromsø Study
AuthorStrand, Bjørn Heine; Cooper, Rachel; Bergland, Astrid; Jørgensen, Lone; Schirmer, Henrik; Skirbekk, Vegard; Emaus, Nina
Background Grip strength has consistently been found to predict all-cause mortality rates. However, few studies have examined cause-speci fi c mortality or tested age differences in these associations. Methods In 1994, grip strength was measured in the population-based Tromsø Study, covering the ages 50 – 80 years (N=6850). Grip strength was categorised into fi fths, and as z-scores. In this cohort study, models with all-cause mortality and deaths from speci fi c causes as the outcome were performed, strati fi ed by sex and age using Cox regression, adjusting for lifestyle-related and health-related factors. Results During 17 years of follow-up, 2338 participants died. A 1 SD reduction in grip strength was associated with HR=1.17 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.22) for all- cause mortality in a model adjusted for age, gender and body size. This association was similar across all age groups, in men and women, and robust to adjustment for a range of lifestyle-related and health-related factors. Results for deaths due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), respiratory diseases and external causes resembled those for all-cause mortality, while for cancer, the association was much weaker and not signi fi cant after adjustment for lifestyle-related and health-related factors. Conclusions Weaker grip strength was associated with increased all-cause mortality rates, with similar effects on deaths due to CVD, respiratory disease and external causes, while a much weaker association was observed for cancer-related deaths. These associations were similar in both genders and across age groups, which supports the hypothesis that grip strength might be a biomarker of ageing over the lifespan.