How long do I have to live? The answer to this burning question has been sought for a long time and in different ways.
People often turn to the cuckoo: “Cuckoo, cuckoo, how long do I have left to live?” The simplest and most accurate answer came from scientists: they determine the life expectancy of a person by the strength of a handshake.
The latest issue of the renowned medical science journal BMJ Open has an article explaining in detail how to do this using a simple test – determining the strength of the hand. The method was developed on the basis of a large study of Americans aged 50 to 80 years. More than 8,000 people have repeatedly tested the strength of the hand and for eight years, followed their fate. As it turned out, those who had much weaker hands died earlier.
The method is simple but very accurate.
Basically, it was known before. Gerontologists even used such a test when examining elderly patients. The problem is that they lose muscle mass. This process is called sarcopenia and is considered one of the manifestations of aging. With such a diagnosis, the weakening of hand strength in men below 27 kg, and in women below 16 kg, is considered a sign of onset sarcopenia.
But the authors of the article significantly improved this technique, and most importantly, made it more accurate. They studied the strength of the handshake depending on three indicators: gender, age and height of a person. Thanks to this approach and a large number of observations, a simple test turned out to be surprisingly accurate and informative.
Diagram of life and death
In the article, the scientists show how their method works on a 60-year-old man 175 cm tall. The normal hand grip force for his age ranges from 45.9 to 49.4 kg. The estimated life expectancy of men with such indicators, according to the calculations of the authors of the article, is 21.4 years. In the examined person, the hand strength turned out to be slightly less than the lower threshold of 45.9 kg, which means that he already has the initial signs of sarcopenia. And his life expectancy is already shorter – 18.4 years.
To make such predictions, the authors developed a chart that can be used to easily determine the life expectancy for a person from 50 to 80 years old, knowing his gender, hand grip strength, age and height. But it is not listed in the journal. In the article, they stipulate that they intend to distribute this simple method among doctors. Perhaps the authors are planning its commercial use among physicians.
Such a study will also be of great importance for not yet old people over the age of 50. At this time, the handshake may already begin to weaken, and if this process is found to be dynamic, active preventive measures are needed to slow down the oncoming aging and make one’s life longer.