Blood pressure ‘should be measured in both arms’

By | January 30, 2012
Measuring blood pressure

Measuring blood pressure in both arms should be routine because the difference between left and right arm could indicate underlying health problems, says a study review.

The Lancet research found that a large difference could mean an increased risk of vascular disease and death.

Although existing guidelines state that blood pressure should be measured in both arms, it is not often done.

But a heart charity said it was too early to judge the findings.

The arm with the higher pressure can vary between individuals, but it is the difference between arms that counts, the study suggests.

Dr Christopher Clark and colleagues, from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter, reviewed 28 previous study papers looking at this area.

Most people in the study had an elevated blood pressure risk and about one-third had a normal level of risk.

The study concluded that a difference in systolic blood pressure of 10 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) between arms could identify patients at high risk of asymptomatic peripheral vascular disease.

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It’s too early to say whether this idea could become part of standard healthcare practice.”

Natasha Stewart British Heart Foundation

A difference of 15mg Hg would also indicate an increased risk of cerebrovascular disease, a 70% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality and 60% increased risk of death from all causes, the authors said.

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet. There are often no symptoms. …

via BBC News – Blood pressure ‘should be measured in both arms’.

My last left arm blood pressure was 104/62. Other left arm readings before that at various times were 112/70,  118/68, and 100/58.

Your blood pressure is a measurement of how hard your heart muscle is beating. It relates to the pressure your blood exerts against the artery walls as it flows through the body. Your blood pressure is recorded in two numbers listed as a fraction. The top number is your systolic pressure and represents the heart muscle contracting. The other number is the diastolic and represents the heart muscle at rest. The result is your blood pressure reading such as 120 over 80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). …

Systolic Values

If your systolic pressure is below 120, then your blood pressure is considered normal. If the reading is between 120 and 139, then you have borderline high blood pressure, or prehypertension. If your systolic pressure rises above 140, then you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure. In some cases, just this reading can be high in a condition called isolated systolic hypertension. Your systolic pressure tends to naturally rise with age.

Diastolic Values

If your diastolic blood pressure is lower than 80, then your blood pressure is considered normal. A value of 80 to 89 suggests borderline high blood pressure, or prehypertension. If your diastolic pressure is 90 or greater, then you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure. Unlike systolic pressure, diastolic pressure does not tend to fluctuate as much. Your diastolic pressure tends to decline after age 60. …

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