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Association of Handgrip Strength and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among Middle-Aged Postmenopausal Women: An Analysis of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2014-2019.

PURPOSE: Handgrip strength is an indicator of overall muscle strength and has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Evidence suggests that menopause is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in women, and muscle strength decreases progressively after menopause. Despite the prognostic importance of the decline in muscle strength and increased cardiovascular disease risk among postmenopausal women, evidence of their association is limited. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between handgrip strength and cardiovascular disease risk among postmenopausal, middle-aged Korean women.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using pooled cohort equations, we calculated the 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) among postmenopausal women (N = 2019) aged 50-64 years without cardiovascular disease history from the 2014-2019 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Relative grip strength was defined as measured grip strength divided by body mass index. Logistic regression analysis of a complex sampling design was performed to evaluate the association between relative grip strength and a predicted 10-year ASCVD risk ≥7.5%.

RESULTS: The average handgrip strength was 24.8 kg, and 5.2% of women were considered for sarcopenia (<18 kg). The quartile-stratified relative grip strength was negatively associated with 10-year ASCVD risk ( p  < 0.001). In the multiple logistic regression analysis, the adjusted odds ratio for the highest relative grip strength quartile was 0.53 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.36-0.78), and that of the group who breastfed for more than 12 months was 1.75 (95% CI: 1.36-2.25) for 10-year ASCVD risk.

CONCLUSION: Increased handgrip strength may be associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk among middle-aged postmenopausal women in Korea. Our findings provide critical evidence regarding the importance of increasing handgrip strength among postmenopausal, middle-aged women to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Handgrip strength measurement might be a valuable screening tool for cardiovascular disease prevention.

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