Weak Handshakes Indicate Heart Attack Risk

Luke Sharma

New studies have indicated that your limp handshake could increase your likeliness to experience a fatal heart attack.

The study published by the Lancet, a UK medical journal, has created a link between having a weak handshake and being more likely to have a fatal heart attack. The study went as far as stating that a hand grip test would be a stronger, more reliable form of prediction of a person succumbing to strokes and heart attacks than the current systolic blood pressure tests.

According to the Telegraph, the study also found that for every five-kilogram decline in grip strength, there was a 16 percent increased risk of death from any cause, but an even higher increased risk of death from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

Though the link between poor muscular strength and a short life expectancy has been long established, until now there was no possible indication between survival rates of heart attacks and the muscles in your hand. Even more interestingly, the test was still accurate when other heart attack risk factors such as alcohol intake, tobacco smoking, and age were taken into account.

The test was conducted over four years, wherein over 135,000 participants (adults between the ages of 35-70) were instructed to squeeze a handgrip dynamometer as hard as they could.

Professor Sayer, of Southampton University, backed up the claims of the study and offered some encouragement for the results.

"Loss of grip strength is unlikely to lie on a single final common pathway for the adverse effects of ageing, but it might be a particularly good marker of underlying ageing processes, perhaps because of the rarity of muscle-specific diseases contributing to change in muscle function."

Following this study, it has already been suggested that grip tests may replace blood pressure tests as a cheap alternative for predicting the risk factors of heart attacks and strokes, though it has also been suggested that handgrip strength also could predict risk factors of diseases such as cancer.

Although this test is a cheap way of predicting a risk factor for heart attacks and other cardiovascular ailments, Senior Cardiac Nurse Doireann Maddock of the British Heart Foundation still recommends that people adopt "healthy lifestyle habits such as quitting smoking" which are already proven to decrease the risk of heart attacks.

Participants for the study were selected from a number of host nations, including Canada, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, China, Colombia, Iran, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe.

[Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers]