Recently during mass, an elderly woman shook my right hand with a deadly grip, and I cringed. As I clenched my teeth to keep from yelping with pain, I wondered why various elderly have committed this same offense to my arthritic hand on so many occasions. So, I had to laugh to myself upon reading GMA On-line's article, "Hand Grip is Telltale of Heart’s Health". The article indicated that: "Canadian scientists conducted a study (in 2015) that covered nearly 140,000 patients aged between 35 and 70 in 17 countries, whose health was monitored over four years. During checkups, the patients were asked to grasp a gadget called a Jamar dynamometer, which measures muscle strength. Every five-kilogram (11-pound) decline in grip strength was linked to a 16-percent increase in the risk of death from any cause over the study's four years. The decline was also associated with a seven-percent increased risk of a heart attack, and a nine-percent increased risk of a stroke. Hand grip is a stronger forecaster of early death than systolic blood pressure, the study found. The results were the same when factors such as age, tobacco and alcohol use, education level and employment status, which affect health, were taken into account. Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease," said Darryl Leong, an assistant professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who led the investigation."
Do seniors know this little nugget of truth and are therefore determined to show off their strength every time they shake my hand during peace-offering? Regardless of motivation, I am pleased that these elderly were able to grip my hand tightly. Because if this is, in fact, an indication of their good health, I am happy to endure the occasional bone and joint crushing... and hope that one day, I will mean it when I offer them the sign of peace after such an assault! ;-)