Study suggests getting BP reading in both arms

The New York Times reports that a new study suggests that it is a good idea “to get a blood pressure reading in both arms rather than just one,” because a difference in those readings could be “an independent risk factor for heart disease.”

Researchers “examined 3,390 people 40 or older who were free of cardiovascular disease, following them for an average of more than 13 years.” During that period “598 participants had a first heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems.”

Of those, more than one quarter “had a difference in systolic blood pressure … of 10 or greater between one arm and the other.”

According to the study, which is published in The American Journal of Medicine, “a difference of 10 or more between the two readings increased the risk for a cardiac event by about 38 percent.”

So, this is real simple to do. The next time you’re at your doctor’s office, and the nurse takes your blood pressure, ask to have it also measured in the other arm.


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