Study shows you hold the secrets of your future health in the palms of your hands – LITERALLY!
Lead investigator Dr Darryl Leong, of the Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University in Canada, and his colleagues published their findings in UK medical journal The Lancet.
Based on their findings, the team says you can use a grip strength test as a rapid, low-cost screening tool to determine your risk of severe illnesses and death.
Previous studies have linked reduced muscular strength (as determined by your grip strength) to greater risk of health conditions, disability and premature death. But researchers from this new study say few past studies have provided data on how grip specifically may be a predictor of disease prognosis.
They add that many past studies also only focused on high-income countries.
For their research, Dr Leong and colleagues analysed data of 139,691 adults between 35 and 70 years old who were part of The Prospective Urban-Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.
Participants came from 17 different low- and high-income countries, including Canada, Sweden, India and Poland. Researchers followed each of them for an average of four years. During this time, they measured participants’ grip strength using a handgrip dynamometer.
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Sail effortlessly into old age and re-write the story of the rest of your life
Why do some people sail effortlessly into old age in full possession of their faculties and bodily functions...
..with a razor-sharp mind, the vitality of someone half their age and retaining their full independence...
..whilst others merely spiral into long-term decline, chronic illness and medicine-dependency, their quality of life dwindling day by pitiful day as they become an ever bigger burden on their families?
The answer may be simpler than you think...
Every 5kg reduction in your grip strength increases your risk of dying of heart problems by 17%!
Researchers found that for every 5kg reduction in grip strength, participants were at a 16% higher risk of all-cause death, 17% higher risk of cardiovascular death and 17% higher risk of non-cardiovascular death.
They also linked every 5kg reduction in grip strength with a 9% higher risk of stroke and a 7% higher risk of heart attack.
Among participants who developed cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular disease, researchers linked low grip strength to a greater risk of death. The team says this indicates that grip strength can predict mortality risk among people with severe illness.
Dr Leong adds that the findings remained the same even after accounting for factors like age, education level, employment status, activity levels, smoking status and alcohol use.
Commenting on the results of the study, he says: “Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease. Further researcher is needed to establish whether efforts to improve muscle strength are likely to reduce an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease.”
But it’s important to keep in mind that a loss of grip strength is unlikely to lie on a single final common pathway for the adverse effects of ageing
. It’s a nifty way to determine your future health nonetheless… So why not test your grip strength?