Scientists believe that grip strength can indicate the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.
The research monitored 140,000 people across 17 countries and discovered that a weak grip was linked with lower survival rates and larger risk of having a stroke or heart attack. It is felt that it is a stronger indicator toward the potential conditions than systolic blood pressure. It also found that grip is a better predictor of death than systolic blood pressure.
The great thing about the discovery is that because of the low cost of the test, it could open up screening to much greater numbers of people.
General muscle strength has been connected with early death for some time, but there has been limited research into the specifics related to grip strength.
But if you don’t have a grip measurement tool to hand, you can predict your chances of a heart attack through the Official NHS calculator here.
The research tracked 139,691 people between the ages of 35-70 over 4 years. The test for grip strength is judged by the force shown when a person squeezes an object as hard as possible with their hands. Results presented every 5kgs drop in grip strength is linked with a 16% increased chance of death from any cause and a 17% increase in your chances from a cardiovascular cause.
The findings show that every five kilos decline in grip strength was associated with a 16 per cent increased risk of death from any cause; a 17 per cent greater risk of cardiovascular death; a 17 per cent higher risk of non-cardiovascular mortality; and more modest increases in the risk of having a heart attack (seven per cent) or a stroke (nine per cent).
The people studied lived in Chile, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Malaysia, Iran, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Poland and China.