Your health in your hands 從握力看健康


Vocabulary: Health詞匯:健康

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Image caption Does the palm hold the secret of health?

My mother used to say my health was in my hands. I choose what I eat, whether I smoke and how fit I should be so… yes, she had a point. And scientists suspect that what my mother said was not just a figure of speech: the state of our health might be shown in the strength of our grip.

An international research team has just published a paper in the Lancet suggesting that the measure of how strong your fingers are when grasping an object might be better than blood pressure when predicting your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Nearly 140,000 people in 14 countries took part in the study. Dr Darryl Leong, a researcher at McMaster University in Canada, said: "Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease."

Further studies need to be done in order to ascertain the strength of the connection between the worsening of our heart's health and a weaker grip. What is known is that hardening arteries might reduce the strength of our muscles.

The stats show that women in their mid-20s have a grip strength of about 34kg, which reduces to around 24kg by the time they hit their 70s. Men go from 54kg to 38kg in old age.

According to the study, each 5kg reduction in grip strength increases the odds of dying early by 16%.

I wonder what my mother's reaction to this study would be. She was a very practical woman who lived well into her 80s. She'd probably say: "Get a grip on your health! Put that cream cake down and get some exercise!"