Anyone hand you a jar of pickles or pasta sauce to open lately? They say a good, strong grip says a lot about a man’s personality—but could it also say something about the health of his heart? Yes, actually, according to new findings from the ongoing Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study.
As part of the study, researchers used a device called a dynamometer to measure the grip strength of more than 140,000 adults from all over the world. From the data, they were able to determine that each 11-pound decrease in grip strength translated to a 17% higher risk of death from heart disease, a 16% higher risk of death from any cause, a 9% higher risk of stroke, and a 7% higher risk of heart attack.
Even when factors such as diet, age, physical activity, and tobacco use were taken into account, the link between hand grip strength and heart disease risk factors remained. Study authors were also surprised to find that measuring the grip strength of the participants seemed to be more effective than monitoring blood pressure as a means of predicting heart disease or death.
According to lead author Dr. Darryl Leong in a recent news release, “Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease.”