Get a grip on your heart health 17



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Have you every judged a person by their handshake? Well now you may be able to determine their heart health too. A new Canadian study says a simple handgrip test can indicate a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, and it’s the stronger the better.

The study at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, tracked nearly 140,000 people from a range of socio-economic backgrounds across the US studying the relationship between handgrip and heart attack. Although there has long been an established link between reduced muscular strength and death, disability and illness, this is the most comprehensive study to hone in on heart health.

Researchers are suggesting a simple hand-grip test could replace more common – and complex – tests, which would have great effects on the outcomes of patients around the world.

A grip test is conducted using a handgrip dynamometer, which measures the force exerted when a person squeezes an object as hard as possible with their hands.

The findings, as reported in The Telegraph, show that for every five-kilo decline in grip strength there is an associated 16 per cent increased risk of death from any cause; a 17 per cent greater risk of cardiovascular death; a 17 per cent higher risk of non-cardiovascular mortality; and more modest increases in the risk of having a heart attack (seven per cent) or a stroke (nine per cent).

These associations were found across the board, taking into account age, education level, physical activity level, smoking and drinking.

A low grip strength was linked with higher death rates in people who suffer a heart attack or stroke and non-cardiovascular diseases, for example cancer, suggesting muscle strength can predict the risk of death in people who develop a major illness.

The researchers concluded in medical journal The Lancet, “Further research is needed to identify determinants of muscular strength and to test whether improvement in strength reduces mortality and cardiovascular disease”.


How’s your handshake? Do you associate a strong grip with robust health?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It stands to reason that, if your muscles are being starved of nourishment through faulty circulation, then your muscle strength will diminish.

  2. interesting. but as i did a lot of work all my life, i now suffer from arthritis in my wrists. to grip is ok. but opening jars, the sudden release, jerks my wrists. so does shaking hands. i inherited a crook heart. i tend to have a weak grip nor anyway . too much pain.

  3. It talks of cardiovascular risk the heart attack and stroke separately. I would have thought cardiovascular covered them both. 14000 is quite a large group,so perhaps it can’t just be written off as “crap”,Natalie. Although I do think most of us notice our muscular strength diminishing as we get older,despite exercising and so on.

  4. As mentioned here by Wendy. Arthritis definitely weakens strength in hands. Fingers, and wrist. My strength in opening jars etc has diminished, due to stiffness and pain. So interesting article nevertheless

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