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Who would have thought a handshake could send a clear signal that something is wrong with your health? But that’s exactly what research is showing. A weak handshake could be a sign that your muscles aren’t getting enough oxygen, that you could be aging too quickly and that there’s serious disease risk in your future.
Offering a firm handshake when you meet someone is often taken as a sign of self-confidence. It shows that you’re interested and reflects your character. It’s also a sign of strength.
However, you may be as muscular as a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, but your handshake will reveal the true state of your health and strength — and whether you’re at risk for chronic disease and premature aging.
These are the findings of medical researchers in a study led by respiratory and sleep expert Professor Robert Adams of Flinders University in South Australia…
Sleep apnea leads to inflammation, disease and early muscle loss
Prof. Adams and his team assessed 613 men ages 40 to 88 in the Men, Androgen, Inflammation, Lifestyle, Environment and Stress (MALES) Study.
Their goal was to measure the connection between muscle mass and grip strength in men who have obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition where the airway is closed off by soft tissue, causing a person to stop breathing for up to 30 seconds, sometimes hundreds of times per night.
The MALES study found that, no matter how muscular a man was or how much muscle mass he had, if his grip strength was weak, it indicated other underlying problems — including issues connected with aging, as well as systemic inflammation and hypoxemia (lack of oxygen in the blood).
“Without good levels of oxygen in the blood, we cannot use the muscles we have to their maximum,” says Professor Adams.
“Our findings suggest impairments in hand grip strength (HGS) may be related to fat infiltration of muscle, hypoxemia-induced reductions in peripheral neural innervation, or even endothelial dysfunction — a risk in chronic inflammation and even cancer.”
“Furthermore, considering that over a quarter of the MAILES participants have moderate to severe OSA, this suggests a large proportion of the population are at risk of early reductions in strength.”
If you think you may have sleep apnea
According to Adelaide Sleep Institute for Sleep Health researcher Dr. David Steven, “This is important as up until now, age-related declines in strength and immobility (sarcopenia) were thought to be due to reductions in muscle which started when someone was over 60 years old. Instead, the declines in strength appear to begin at a younger age in people with obstructive sleep apnea.”
That means if you’re living with untreated sleep apnea, you could experience muscle loss at a much younger age. And that can lead to functional decline — in other words, male frailty.
Some definite signs of sleep apnea to watch for are:
● Waking up with a very sore or dry throat
● Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
● Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
● Waking up with a headache that goes away as you move around
● Difficulty concentrating, or just not feeling as sharp as you used to
Your doctor can help you determine if sleep apnea is the cause and discuss treatments.
Another thing you can try is helping your body optimize oxygen levels. This is important also if you’re what’s known as a mouth breather.
Dimethylglycine or DMG for short, is a nutrient known to athletes to help give them a performance edge — thanks to its reputation as an all-natural oxygen and endurance enhancer.
DMG is created in the liver from the amino acid glycine and is involved in at least 41 different processes. Nothing, however, tops DMG’s abilities to support healthy oxygen levels in your body and optimize oxygen utilization in your cells, organs, and tissues.
You can read more about DMG here.
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Getting a grip on better health — Eureka Alert
How Hand Grip Strength, Body Composition May Influence Health of Patients With OSA — American Journal of Managed Care