According to a Canadian-led study published in the Lancet Medical Journal, the strength of a person’s handshake could predict their chance of a future heart attack or stroke.

The international study involving almost 140,000 adults in 17 different countries found that weak grip strength is linked to a greater risk of heart attack or stroke.

The study followed patients between 35 and 70 years of age, over four years. Every year, their grip strength was assessed using a handgrip dynamometer.

The findings show that every five kilos decline in grip strength was associated with a 16 percent increased risk of death from any cause, a 17 per cent greater risk of cardiovascular death, a 17 per cent higher risk of non-cardiovascular death, 7 per cent increased risk of having a heart attack and 9 per cent risk of a stroke.

Overall, the study showed that in most participants grip strength is a strong contributor to all-cause cardiovascular mortality than systolic blood pressure.

There was no link between handshake strength and diabetes, respiratory disease, fractures, or injuries from falls.

Over the four years, researchers aimed to get an unbiased sample of people from across the countries involved. Factors such as age, diet, physical activity level, tobacco and alcohol use were taken in to consideration when testing the participants. After the four years of research however, they did have to adjust their data and findings, as over 3,000 of the participants passed away during the study period. The causes of death of these participants were unavailable to the researchers.

Researchers suggest the hand shake method could be used as a low cost screening tool by doctors to identify high risk patients. Doctors however, have said that more research needs to be done in the area.

What do you think? Should the handshake method be used by doctors in Australia?