A study has revealed that the chances of having a heart attack, stroke or dying young may be hidden in the palm of the hand.
According to a trial conducted on nearly 140,000 people in 14 countries, published in the Lancet, it was suggested that grip strength is better than blood pressure at predicting risk.
Generally, the maximum crushing force you can exert in your grip naturally declines with age, but those whose grip strength declines fastest may be at greater risk of health problems.
The international research team said it would be a "simple, inexpensive" tool for doctors.
According to the study, women in their mid-20s have a grip strength about 34kg, which falls to 24kg in a 70-year-old.
The equivalent figures for men are 54kg falling to 38kg.
According to BBC, the huge trial, in 14 countries, showed each 5kg reduction in grip strength increased the odds of an early death by 16%, the odds of a fatal heart problem increased by 17% and a stroke by 9%.
While doctors currently calculate the chances of a heart attack or stroke by filling out a questionnaire with the patient by assessing age, whether they smoke, obesity, cholesterol levels and so forth, the researchers argue grip strength makes more accurate predictions than blood pressure alone and could be a new tool for assessing risk.
Experts however argue the link between grip and the heart was unclear and needed more study.