According to a recent research published in The Lancet, your handgrips can be one of the telltale signs showing how long you will live. Darryl Leong from the McMaster University in Canada based his study on the hypothesis that testing one’s grip in a handshake can give away the possibility of dying in the next years.
Dr. Leong and his international team of researchers used a dynamometer, a hand-held instrument, to evaluate the grips of more than 140,000 people from 17 countries, aged 35 to 70.
For the study’s purposes, participants were chosen from varied countries, three of which had high-incomes – the United Arab Emirates, Sweden and Canada – four of them were on the lower end of the spectrum – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and India; whereas some of the participants came from countries with middle-incomes, Poland, Colombia and South Africa.
A four year follow-up period was the base of the study’s results, time when the researchers monitored the reasons why people in the study died. National variation could be observed throughout the years – Swedes, for example, were the ones with the strongest handshakes, whereas Pakistanis had the weakest.
In general, results showed that the firmness of someone’s handshake is a sound criteria for predicting how likely that person was to die in the next few years (or during the study, in their case).
The researchers measured hand grip in newtons, which averaged at 300 – the equivalent of lifting 30 kilograms. Dropping with 50 newtons under the average was linked with a 16 percent increase in risk of death, and a 17 percent rise in risk of dying from heart diseases.
Participants who suffered from chronic heart diseases or cancer but also had a stronger grip were statistically more likely to survive after the follow-up period than those with weaker handshakes.
When researchers cross-referenced their results with other factors that also play a role in death rate – drinking, smoking, age and education – it turned out their assessments were right.
However, Dr. Leong stated that grip firmness is not a 100% predictor for a longer life. For example, there was no connection between a soft handshake and frequency of hospital admissions or the rate of diabetes.
Researchers were most surprised to see there was apparently no association between dying from falls, a case where muscular weakness should play a direct part. But Dr. Leong admitted that interpreting an observational study was more difficult than reaching conclusions after an experimental one.
It is impossible to establish if muscular weakness is a cause or an effect. If it’s an effect of a disease that’s’ already existing, then maybe improving strength might prevent early death. If it’s a cause, than there’s nothing people or doctors can do. Chances are, it’s a bit of both.
Image Source: Huffington Post
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