Strong hand, strong heart

The link between heart health and grip strength

Grip strength, or the maximum force a person can exert with one hand, may be a useful measurement of heart health, according to a study recently published in the Lancet. Grip strength naturally declines with age; on average, women in their mid-20s can exert about 75 pounds of force, compared with 53 pounds for 70-year-olds. The trial included nearly 140,000 people in 14 countries and found that each 11-pound reduction in grip strength increased the likelihood of an early death by 16 percent, fatal heart problems by 17 percent and stroke by 9 percent. The researchers maintain that measuring hand strength, in addition to considering traditional indicators such as age, smoking history, blood pressure and family history, may help physicians more accurately predict risk of heart attack or stroke.