Handgrip Strength is an Independent Predictor of Distal Radius Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women
Several cross-sectional studies have reported a positive correlation between muscle strength and local bone mineral density. However, very few studies have evaluated the possible role of confounding variables, which may be substantial as both bone mineral density and muscle strength are multifactorial variables. We studied 140 postmenopausal women who underwent their first osteodensitometry in our hospital. Of these, 102 women affected neither by bone diseases apart from primary osteoporosis nor treated with drugs affecting bone mass were selected. Distal radius bone mineral density of the non-dominant arm was assessed by dual photon absorptiometry. Handgrip strength was measured by a handheld dynamometer. The following factors influencing bone mass were also considered: age, years since menopause, years of cyclic ovarian activity, body weight, body height, body mass index, and both calcium and alcohol dietary intake. Statistical evaluation was performed by stepwise multiple regression analysis. This showed that only two variables were independently related to bone mineral density: handgrip strength (which was the best bone density predictor among the studied independent variables) and years since menopause. R2 value was 0.43 (F=38.04, p<0.001). All the other variables studied were not significantly related to bone density when the effects of both strength and years since menopause were considered. In conclusion, the data showed that handgrip strength was a strong independent predictor of distal radius bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Clinical assessment of osteoporosis risk factors, including muscle strength, is recommended: although it is not an adequate substitute for bone densitometry, it can help clinicians to identify the risk groups at which to direct bone density measurement.
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