Screen Readers Skip to Content

Blood Pressure Reading Difference Between Arms

Published: 2016-02-28 - Updated: 2021-06-20
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)

Synopsis: Study reveals large arm-to-arm difference in blood pressure linked to higher heart attack risk and some diseases. The average arm to arm difference in the study was about 5 points in systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading). If your blood pressure in one arm is higher than the other, that arm should be the one upon which to base any treatments and to check your blood pressure in the future.

Main Digest

Small differences in blood pressure readings between the right and left arm are normal. But large ones suggest the presence of artery-clogging plaque in the vessel that supplies blood to the arm with higher blood pressure.

Related

What Exactly is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels and constitutes one of the principal vital signs. The pressure of the circulating blood decreases as blood moves through arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins; the term blood pressure generally refers to arterial pressure, i.e., the pressure in the larger arteries, arteries being the blood vessels which take blood away from the heart. Blood pressure is always given as two numbers;

Blood pressure measurements are written one above, or before, the other with the systolic being the first number, e.g. BP 120/80.

Blood pressure measurement is NOT the same as your heart rate (pulse) or maximum heart rate measurement. Check what your heart rate for your age should be. You can calculate your predicted maximum heart rate by using the calculation: 220 - (age) = Age Predicted Maximum Heart Rate - or see our Target Heart Rate Calculator and Chart.

In a study(1) researchers reviewed some 3,390 people who were over the age of 40 and who did not originally have cardiovascular disease.

Over the next 13 years or so, people with arm-to-arm differences of 10 points or more were 38% more likely to have had a heart attack, stroke, or a related problem than those with arm-to arm differences less than 10 points. The findings appear in the March 2014 American Journal of Medicine.

Cerebrovascular disease is associated with thinking problems, such as dementia, and increased risk of stroke. These results were published in The Lancet.

In general, any difference of 10 mm Hg or less is considered normal and not a cause for concern. A difference of more than 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for either your systolic pressure (top number) or diastolic pressure (bottom number) may be a sign of an underlying problem such as:

The arteries under the collarbone supply blood to the arms, legs and brain. Blockage can lead to stroke and other problems, the researchers noted, and measuring blood pressure in both arms should be routine. Blocked arteries in your arms, called peripheral artery disease, shows no physical symptoms, so without testing for a significant difference in blood pressure between a patient's arms, this silent killer can go unnoticed for years.

Doctors should routinely compare your blood pressure readings from both arms. If your blood pressure in one arm is higher than the other, that arm should be the one upon which to base any treatments and to check your blood pressure in the future.

You can learn more about blood pressure, and view a chart of what your blood pressure reading should be according to your age here.

If you’re worried about your blood pressure or cardiovascular risk, speak to your GP or practice nurse.

Reference:

(1) - www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2813%2900972-8/fulltext

Who We Are:

Disabled World is an independent disability community established in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, and their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

In Other News:

Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2016, February 28). Blood Pressure Reading Difference Between Arms. Disabled World. Retrieved September 26, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/medical/mg.php