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Weak grip strength linked to heart attack and stroke

Weak grip strength linked to heart attack and stroke
15th May 2015

Research from the Population Health Research Institute at the Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University in Canada has found that weak grip strength could be linked to an increased risk of not only heart attack and stroke, but general cardiovascular diseases.

Writing in The Lancet, the team used a grip strength test to identify patients that may be at a high risk of illness. In total, 139,691 adults aged between 35 and 70 were looked at across 17 different countries, such as India, Sweden, Poland and South Africa. These individuals were then followed for an average of four years and their grip strength were measured via a handgrip dynamometer.

The study concluded that for every five kg reduction in grip strength, people were at a greater risk of all-cause death, cardiovascular death and noncardiovascular death at 16 per cent, 17 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. Specifically, stroke and risk of heart attack increased by nine per cent and seven per cent.

Lead investigator Dr. Darryl Leong said: "Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease. Further research is needed to establish whether efforts to improve muscle strength are likely to reduce an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease."

The study took into account a series of factors that may affect mortality, such as age, employment, education, physical health, smoking and drinking. While these findings are hardly anything new, they have offered further evidence that grip strength is a good indicator of illness or early death. It is important to note, however, that grip strength cannot like on a single final common pathway for the effects of aging.

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