Hand grip strength could be an indicator of cardiovascular health and heart structure, according to a new study.
Typically, hand grip strength is used to measure muscular strength, but researchers from the Queen Mary University of London wanted to explore the little-studied correlation between handgrip and heart health.
Previous research has found that hand grip strength is associated with cardiovascular incidents, but until now that link has not been thoroughly investigated.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, show that better hand grip strength illustrates certain healthy cardiac functions and could mean a reduced risk of cardiovascular incidents.
For the study, the researchers collected and analyzed cardiovascular magnetic resonance images and measured the hand grip strength of 5,065 participants.
A statistical model was then created so the researchers could account for potential factors that would influence the study such as demographics, how physically active the participants were, and other known cardiac risk factors.
After analyzing the measurements and images, the researchers found that the participants with a stronger hand grip had lower heart mass and pumped more blood per heartbeat than those with decreased hand grip strength.
The more blood per heartbeat means that for those participants, the heart is not suffering from remodeling which can occur with high blood pressure or after a heart attack.
The results show that a stronger hand grip could be indicative of a healthy heart and reduced risk of cardiovascular issues.
“Our study of over 4,600 people shows that better handgrip strength is associated with having a healthier heart structure and function,” said Steffen Petersen, a leader of the research.
The researchers also note that future research should investigate this connection in depth as measuring hand-grip strength would be an easy way for medical professionals to measure heart health.
“Handgrip strength is an inexpensive, reproducible and easy to implement the measure, and could become an important method for identifying those at a high risk of heart disease and preventing major life-changing events, such as heart attacks,” said Peterson.