HealthDay News — Testing hand-grip strength could be a simple way of identifying people at increased risk for myocardial infarction, stroke, and premature death, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Researchers looked at 139,691 adults who underwent grip-strength tests. The participants were aged 35 to 70, and they were from 17 countries. Their health was followed for an average of four years. Every 11-pound decrease in grip strength was associated with a 16% increased risk of all-cause mortality, the investigators found. Each decrease was also tied to a 17% raised risk of cardiovascular-related mortality or death from non-cardiovascular causes. And, every 11-pound drop in grip strength was also associated with a 9% increased risk of stroke and a 7% higher risk of myocardial infarction.

The researchers said that grip strength appears to be a stronger predictor of premature death than systolic blood pressure. And, the link between grip strength and increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, and premature death remained even after the researchers accounted for other factors that affect mortality risk and cardiovascular disease, such as age, education level, smoking, drinking, exercise, and employment status.

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“Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease,” lead author Darryl Leong, PhD, from the Population Health Research Institute at Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University in Canada, said in a journal news release. “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.”


  1. Leong DP et al. The Lancet. 2015; doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62000-6.