Using the Isometric Handgrip to Diagnose and Treat Future Hypertension

Hypertension (HTN) is defined as a systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥130mmHg and/or a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥ 80mmHg. HTN is a known risk factor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death in Americans. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HTN may be predictable and is associated with an exaggerated blood pressure (BP) response. The isometric hand grip (IHG) test can be used to assess BP reactivity. During the IHG test, the subject performs a 30% maximal voluntary isometric contraction of the forearm muscles with a hand grip dynamometer for two minutes. BP reactivity is calculated as the difference between the highest BP during the IHG test and BP at rest. Although a universal standard is not defined, generally a rise in BP ≥ 22 mmHg is abnormal and the individual is considered a hyperreactor. Thus, the IHG test may be used to identify those at risk for developing HTN. In the literature, exercise training using the IHG has been demonstrated as an intervention to improve BP reactivity on the IHG test. In summary, the IHG is multipurpose tool that can be used by exercise professionals for potential diagnoses and treatment of future HTN.
Presented at Fiat Lux Spring 2021.
Hypertension, Cardiovascular system -- Diseases, Cardiovascular system -- Diseases -- Prevention, Exercise