A recently conducted study has found a strong link between the weak handgrip and higher chances of dying from both non-cardiovascular and cardiovascular diseases.
The study’s lead researcher Darryl Leong, who is a cardiologist by profession, said that one important message this new study comes up with is how vulnerable a person with lower grip strength can actually be to dying of ailments of different kinds. Leong also teaches medicine at the McMaster University.
The handgrip test on which the said study was based was done using a dynamometer. According to Leong, the test is affordable and simple and is perfect for being used in nations where expensive and sophisticated tests are not as accessible as they are in developed countries. The study was conducted by a group of scientists representing the medical group Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and McMaster University’s Population Health Research Institute.
The study was carried out in as many as 17 economically and culturally diverse countries, from Sweden and Canada to Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Around 140,000 adults aged between 35 and 70 years were followed by the researchers over a period of four years.
The researchers examined the relation between muscle strength and different health conditions; the muscle strength of a person was measured by his or her grip strength. Participants had to undergo a handgrip test; they were asked to squeeze a dynamometer with maximum possible effort.
For those who don’t know dynamometers produce readings in kilograms. Researchers have linked each 5 kg decrease in grip strength with the following:
- 16% increase in chances of drying from any cause
- 17% increase in chances of dying from a non-cardiovascular disease
- 17% increase in chances of dying from a cardiovascular disease
- 7% increase in chances of suffering a heart attack
- 9% increase in chances of suffering a stroke
The above-mentioned associations remained constant event after adjusting other factors that can have an impact on an individual’s cardiovascular conditions or mortality, for instance employment status, education, age, alcohol and tobacco use, and physical activity.
Another significant finding of this study is: grip strength tends to vary by country and ethnicity. While Europeans have a pretty strong grip, the grip of South Asians is usually much weaker.