Two Readings Are Better Than One: Why You Should Insist That Your Blood Pressure Be Taken in Both Arms

A recent health alert from John Hopkins summarizes a newly published study in Lancet that recommends routinely having your blood pressure measured in both arms.

For years, the American Heart Association recommended that bilateral blood pressure readings be done at your initial visit with your physician. Now recent evidence supports that this is not enough. When differences in readings from arm to arm are identified, your cardiovascular health can be in jeopardy.

 Just a difference of 15 mm Hg or more between arms shows increased risk to your health and well-being in the following ways:

1. you have two times the risk of developing PAD (peripheral arterial disease) which poses a threat to the health of your lower extremities.

2. you have a 60% increased risk of developing dementia or having a stroke because the 15 mm Hg or more difference suggests that you may already have the beginnings of cerebrovascular disease

3. you have a greater likelihood of dying from premature heart disease.

4. you may hypertension and not even know it because your blood pressure was always done in the arm that has the lower blood pressure.

At the least, have your blood pressure checked in both arms at the time of your annual physical. Better than that, have it done that way every time you see the doctor. It is an easy, non-invasive way to detect problems with your arterial and vascular health.  When a difference between arms is found, it signals to your doctor and you that you must begin aggressive steps to reduce your risks of developing the catastrophic effects of arterial and vascular disease.

Photo image from Photobucket.com (lengtarang)

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