Not only is a firm handshake a sign of confidence, but doctors say it may be a barometer of your health, too. Researchers followed nearly 2,500 men and women for more than a decade, according to new research presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting, and linked the risk of dementia and stroke to how strong their handshakes were at the beginning of the study.
Having a stronger grip was associated with a 42 percent lower risk of stroke in people over age 65 compared with other study participants with flimsier grasps. What’s the connection? “Vascular problems in the brain manifest themselves in a wide variety of ways,” says study author Erica Camargo, MD, of the Boston Medical Center. The suspicion is that if your grip is particularly weak, it could be a sign that your overall cardiovascular health isn’t in the best shape.