(HealthDay News) — Testing hand-grip strength could be an inexpensive and simple way of identifying people at increased risk for myocardial infarction (MI), 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 years, and they were from 17 countries. Their health was followed for an average of 4 years. 

Results showed that every 11-lb decrease in grip strength was associated with a 16% increased risk for all-cause mortality. Each decrease was also tied to a 17% increased risk for cardiovascular (CV)-related mortality or death from non-CV causes. Additionally, every 11-lb decrease in grip strength was also associated with a 9% increased risk for stroke and a 7% higher risk for MI.

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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 for MI, stroke and premature death remained even after the researchers accounted for other factors that affect mortality risk and CVD, such as age, education level, smoking, drinking, exercise and employment status.

“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. Lancet. 2015;doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62000-6.