This study examined the associations between asymmetric handgrip strength (HGS) and multimorbidity in American adults. Secondary analyses of data from persons aged at least 40 years from the 2011–2012 and 2013–2014 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were conducted. A handheld dynamometer collected HGS on each hand and persons with a strength imbalance >10% between hands were classified as having asymmetric HGS. Adults with the presence of ≥2 of the following conditions had multimorbidity: cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, asthma, arthritis, cancer, obesity, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Of the n = 3483 participants included, n = 2700 (77.5%) had multimorbidity. A greater proportion of adults with multimorbidity had HGS asymmetry (n = 1234 (45.7%)), compared to persons living without multimorbidity (n = 314 (40.1%); p < 0.05). Relative to individuals without asymmetry, adults with asymmetric HGS had 1.31 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03–1.67) greater odds for multimorbidity. Moreover, persons with HGS asymmetry had 1.22 (CI: 1.04–1.44) greater odds for accumulating morbidities. Asymmetric strength, as another indicator of diminished muscle function, is linked to chronic morbidity status. Healthcare providers should recommend healthy behaviors for reducing asymmetries to improve muscle function and mitigate morbidity risk after completing asymmetry screenings.
- Chronic disease
- Epidemiologic research design
- Muscle strength
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation