Well, you read it right but it’s not the lines on your palm that’s important but the strength of hold that your palm generates.

The Prospective Urban-Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, grip strength and predicting mortality

The study points out that a grip strength test could be used as a rapid, low-cost screening tool for healthcare professionals to identify patients at high risk of severe illness, as well those at high risk of death from such conditions.

The research of Dr. Leong and colleagues analyzed data of 139,691 adults aged 35-70 who were a part of The Prospective Urban-Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. The grip strength of all participants was measured using a handgrip dynamometer.

Significant findings of PURE study 

  • For every 5 kg reduction in grip strength, participants were at 16% greater risk of all-cause death, 17% high risk of cardiovascular death and 17% increased risk of noncardiovascular death.
  • Also, for every 5 kg reduction in grip strength among the participants was linked to a 9% higher risk of stroke and a 7% greater risk of heart attack.
  • Among participants who developed both cardiovascular and noncardiovascular diseases, low grip strength was linked to greater risk of death.
  • Links between weak grip strength and all-cause and CV-related mortality remained significant for both sexes and across all ages.
  • Exercise of any type should be recommended to all patients as part of a daily routine. But, the study stresses that strength-building exercises and resistance training should be part of this and not just cardiorespiratory exercise.

The study has accounted for factors that may influence cardiovascular conditions and mortality, including age, employment status, education level, physical activity level, smoking status and alcohol use. And, the findings still hold good.

The researchers believe that,

“Loss of grip strength might be a particularly good marker of underlying aging processes, perhaps because of the rarity of muscle-specific diseases contributing to change in muscle function.”

Researchers from PURE study have recently published the above results in The Lancet.

Leong DP, Teo KK, Rangarajan S, Lopez-Jaramillo P, Avezum  Jr A, Orlandini A, et al. Prognostic value of grip strength: findings from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. Lancet [Internet]. Elsevier; 2015 May 16.

Deepu Sebin

CEO, Co-founder of DailyRounds - largest academic network for Doctors ! Internal Medicine MD. Contact dr.deepu@dailyrounds.org.

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