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Strong handshakes may reduce people’s heart disease risks

People with strong handshakes may be less at risk of heart disease, new research suggests.

A study released today found people with weak handshakes are more likely to have enlarged, damaged hearts.

In contrast, a stronger grip is associated with more blood being pumped per heart beat, regardless of the organ’s size, a study found today.

This suggests such an individual is not suffering from heart muscle reshaping, which can occur due to high blood pressure, and is associated with cardiovascular events, the research adds.

Study author Professor Steffen Petersen, from Queen Mary University of London, said: ‘Better handgrip strength is associated with having a healthier heart structure and function

‘Handgrip strength is an inexpensive, reproducible and easy to implement 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.’ 

Heart disease, which can cause fatal attacks, is the number one killer in the UK, being responsible for around 160,000 deaths a year.

People with strong handshakes may be less at risk of heart disease, research suggests (stock)


Following a ‘fashionable’ fast for just one week can damage the heart, research suggested in February 2018.

Obese people who suddenly lower their calorie intake to just 600-to-800 units a day, experience heart-fat level increases of 44 per cent, a trial found today.

Despite such dieters on average losing six per cent of their total body fat after just seven days, this fat is released into their bloodstream and absorbed by their hearts, the researchers explained.

Although this excess heart fat balances out by week eight of dieting, for people with heart problems, it could leave them breathless and with an irregular beat, the scientists add.

Study author Dr Jennifer Rayner from the University of Oxford, said: ‘Otherwise healthy people may not notice the change in heart function in the early stages.

‘But caution is needed in people with heart disease.’

Heart disease, which is linked to obesity, affects more than 1.6 million men and one million women in the UK.

Dr Rayner added:’The heart muscle prefers to choose between fat or sugar as fuel and being swamped by fat worsens its function. 

‘People with a cardiac problem could well experience more symptoms at this early time point, so the diet should be supervised.

‘Otherwise healthy people may not notice the change in heart function in the early stage.’ 

The researchers analysed 21 obese volunteers with an average age of 52 and a BMI of 37kg/metre squared.

The study’s participants ate a very low-calorie diet every day for eight weeks.

MRI scans were taken at the start and end of the investigation, as well as after week one. 

How the research was carried out 

The researchers analysed the hand grip strength of 5,065 people who were previously involved in the UK Biobank study by asking them to grasp a device known as a dynamometer for three seconds. 

Heart health was assessed via X-ray like medical images.

The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. 

Vitamin D is an ‘inexpensive solution’ to heart drugs 

This comes after research released last January suggested vitamin D is an ‘inexpensive solution’ to drugs as the sunshine supplement repairs and prevents damage to the heart caused by diabetes and high blood pressure.

Vitamin D stimulates the production of nitric acid, which is involved in regulating blood flow and preventing the formation of blood clots, according to the first study of its kind.

It also reduces ‘internal stress’ in the cardiovascular system, which could avoid heart-related incidents, the research adds.

Study author Dr Tadeusz Malinski from Ohio University, said: ‘There are not many, if any, known systems which can be used to restore cardiovascular cells which are already damaged, and vitamin D can do it.

‘This is a very inexpensive solution to repair the cardiovascular system. 

‘We don’t have to develop a new drug. We already have it.’

The researchers analysed heart cells taken from a group of Caucasian and African Americans.

They used special sensors to track the impact of vitamin D in these cells.