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Grip strength positively correlates with blood pressure in individuals with abnormal adiposity.

Although strong positive correlations exist between grip strength and cardiovascular health, the association between grip strength and blood pressure (BP) is less clear. In this regard, a more precise relationship between grip strength and BP may be revealed by considering adiposity. We examined the association between grip strength and BP in 9424 individuals aged 18-92 years, while controlling for or stratifying by body mass index (BMI) or body fat (BF)%. Grip strength, BP and BF% were determined using dynamometry, sphygmomanometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Overall, those with elevated BP had greater grip strength than those with normal BP (39.17 kg vs 38.38 kg, p < 0.001); however, following stratification this was only observed in overweight or obese individuals (42.08 kg vs 41.10 kg, p = 0.003 and 41.34 kg vs 40.03 kg, p = 0.033), and those within the highest BF% tertile (37.95 kg vs 36.52 kg, p < 0.001). Overall, higher grip strength was associated with an increased odds for elevated BP (OR = 1.014, 95% CI = 1.004-1.024, p = 0.004); however, after stratification the increased odds was only observed in overweight or obese individuals (OR = 1.025, 95% CI = 1.010-1.039, p < 0.001 and OR = 1.018, 95% CI = 1.004-1.031, p = 0.010), and those within the highest BF% tertile (OR = 1.036, 95% CI = 1.022-1.051, p < 0.001). Individuals with low grip strength and high BF% had lower odds for elevated BP (OR = 0.514, 95% CI = 0.341-0.775, p = 0.002), whereas those with low grip strength and low BF% had higher odds for elevated BP (OR = 2.162, 95% CI = 1.026-4.555, p = 0.043). Our findings show that higher grip strength is related to higher BP in overweight or obese individuals, or those with a high BF%. Having a BMI < 25 kg/m2 or lower BF% may neutralise this association.

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