Why a weak handshake is bad news for your heart
Published 14/05/2015 | 02:30
The strength of your handshake could indicate the chance of a future heart attack, a major study has suggested.
Researchers found that the vigour of a person's grip could predict the risk of heart attacks and strokes - and was a stronger indicator of death than checking systolic blood pressure.
The study in 'The Lancet' medical journal, involving almost 140,000 adults in 17 countries, found weak grip strength was linked to shorter survival and a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Reduced muscular strength, which can be measured by grip strength, has been consistently linked with early death, disability and illness. But there has been limited research on whether grip strength could be used to indicate heart health.
The findings show that every five-kilo decline in grip strength was associated with a 16pc increased risk of death from any cause; a 17pc greater risk of cardiovascular death; a 17pc higher risk of non-cardiovascular mortality and more modest increases in the risk of having a heart attack (7pc) or a stroke (9pc). Overall, grip strength was a stronger predictor of all deaths, including those from heart disease, than systolic blood pressure.
The associations persisted even after taking into account differences in other factors that can affect mortality or heart disease, such as age, physical activity level, and tobacco and alcohol use. Potentially, grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease.