A team of Canadian researchers found that a limp handshake may not only signal lack of confidence or shyness as psychologists claim, but it could also be a hint of a substantial risk of fatal heart attack or stroke.
Researchers at the McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, analyzed data on nearly 140,000 people from about 20 countries to find that there’s an undeniable link between handshake strength and significant risk of premature death, mainly from stroke and heart attack.
Canadian researchers argue that the newly found link between limp handshake and premature death may predict with greater accuracy the risk of death caused by those two conditions than blood pressure tests do. Although the idea is not new, no other study on the issue involved so many participants or countries.
The research team monitored 139,690 people aged 35 or older. Those people were already participants in a larger research on health differences between those living in urban areas and those living in the countryside.
Scientists found that a 10-pound loss in hand grip strength signaled a 17 percent increased chance to die of stroke or heart attack and seven percent increased risk of having a heart attack which would not result in death.
Researchers claim that results remained significant although they were adjusted for age, sex, smoking and drinking habits, or physical activity.
“Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease,”
They also said that they were currently planning to learn whether improving muscle strength would decrease the risk of death. Also, they are curious to find what is behind the link between a strong hand grip and a good heart health.
They can only speculate that the musculoskeletal system may somehow signal age-related problems within the whole body, but the signals may be more obvious in grip strength.
Musculoskeletal system’s frailty is well known for predicting an imminent death among seniors. Moreover, older people who often fall down have a higher risk of impending death from all causes, according to other studies. But in this latest study, young people with a weak grip strength did not display a high risk of falling.
Dr. Elliot Antman, the president of the American Heart Association, said that physicians are not accustomed with the dynamometer, which is the tool used in the study to measure hand grip strength. So, using it clinically may require additional training and involve a fair amount of errors before doctors get a solid grasp of it.
Image Source: Lamya_asiff (blog)
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