Researchers are considering a simple, low-tech screening test that may predict your risk for death,heart attack or stroke: the strength of your hand. A new study of approximately 140,000 patients ages 35 to 70 from 17 countries indicates that grip strength is a reliable indicator of death from any cause, but particularly heart disease. The findings were published in The Lancet.
“Grip strength could be an easy, inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Darryl Leong, study author and assistant professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, told Yahoo News. “Doctors or other health care professionals can measure grip strength to identify patients with major illnesses such as heart failure who are at particularly high risk of dying from their illness.”
Each 11-pound decline in grip strength was linked to a 16 percent increased risk for death from any cause, 17 percent increased risk for cardiovascular death and a 17 percent greater risk for death not associated with heart disease. The findings also suggest a 7 percent increased risk for heart attack and 9 percent increased risk for stroke. Further research is being conducted to determine whether or not improved hand strength could reduce the risk for death or heart disease.
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