Strength of Your Grip May Predict Chances of Heart Attack
The strength of your grip could help predict your chances of having a heart attack or stroke, or suffering a premature death. That's what researchers at McMaster University have concluded after a large international study.
The researchers looked at blood pressure data collected from nearly 140,000 people from 14 countries to determine the connection between hand grip and cardiovascular health problems.
The results, published in The Lancet, suggest that young women in their 20s have an average grip strength of about 75 lbs, which drops to 53 lbs for 70-year-old women. For young men the average grip strength is 119 lbs, falling to 84 lbs at 70 years of age.
While grip strength naturally declines with age, the study results suggest that for those whose grip strength declines faster, so do their health risks. The research showed each 11 lb reduction in grip strength increased the odds of premature death by 16 percent, with the odds of a fatal heart problem increasing by 17 percent and a stroke by 9 percent.
While the study doesn’t elaborate on why a weaker grip could suggest worsening heart heath, its primary focus is to find an easier, quicker, and inexpensive way for doctors to examine the overall health of patients. Currently, doctors calculate heart health risks by having patients fill out a questionnaire, which relies on patient memory recall and takes more time than a grip a test.