Blood Pressure Higher In The Left Arm
Higher blood pressure is more often found in the right arm. Having varying blood pressure in different arms is statistically normal and may not necessarily be a cause for concern. However, if the difference is persistent, your health care provider will use the arm with the higher blood pressure for all further blood pressure measurements.
Your health care provider might want to check for certain medical conditions if you have a blood pressure difference between your arms, particularly if its persistent and large. They might check for:
- Coarctation of the thoracic aorta
- Dissection of the thoracic aorta
- Aneurysm of the aorta
- Various kinds of extra- and intra-arterial obstruction in the upper extremities
- Takayasu disease
These causes for a blood pressure difference between arms become more likely when the arm with the lower blood pressure also has a diminished pulse.
According to studies, people with a blood pressure difference of 15 points or more between arms are twice as likely to develop peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease is when your arteries become clogged or blocked by cholesterol. It affects about 12 million people in the United States. A blood pressure difference of 10 to 15 points between arms may also raise your likelihood of dying from heart disease or getting a stroke.
New Acc/aha Blood Pressure Guidelines: Check
Its been over a year since the new blood pressure guidelines were released and 103 million Americans were recategorized with high blood pressure. Thats nearly 1 in 2 of us. How are YOU doing?
|AND/OR||HIGHER THAN 120|
Out-of-office BP measurements are recommended to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension and for titration of BP-lowering medication, in conjunction with telehealth counseling or clinical intervention Self monitoring of BP refers to the regular measurement of BP by an individual at home or elsewhere outside the clinic setting .
2013 ESH/ESC Guidelines for the Management of Arterial Hypertension defines high blood pressure readings obtained by self-measurement at home as:Systolic Blood Pressure 135Diastolic Blood Pressure 85
In terms of taking action based on your blood pressure readings, this should always be discussed and decided on between you and your doctor. You should never self-diagnose or adjust your medication if not prescribed by your doctor.
To learn more about blood pressure, click on the following links:
Dont Take My Blood Pressure In That Arm
Lymphedema can be a problem worse than a cold rain in spring. Lymphedema is swelling of the arm that can occur after breast cancer surgery and is akin to your kitchen sink sponge soaked with water.
Traditionally, women who have had lymph nodes removed from their armpit, what is known medically as the axilla and the procedure an Axillary Lymph Node Dissection, were at a 40% risk for developing lymphedema.
However, today, most women have a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy as opposed to a full Axillary Lymph Node Dissection, and the risk of lymphedema is only 8%. You would need to ask your surgeon which procedure you had, a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy or a full Axillary Lymph Node Dissection, before you know what your risk of lymphedema is.
How can you prevent lymphedema? The two biggest risk factors for lymphedema are infection in the arm and obesity.
The first step is to eat a healthy diet, exercise and get your weight down to a body mass index less than 25. The second step is to protect your arm from infection. When you are gardening or walking in the woods, wear a long sleeve shirt, because scratches from plants and bites from insects can lead to infection, which can lead to lymphedema.
Will having your blood pressure done on your arm cause lymphedema? No. Dont worry about having someone take your blood pressure in the affected arm, although again, prudence may dictate that you use the other arm for blood pressure measurement.
May you live long and prosper.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Va Disability Rating For Hypertensive Heart Disease
Proper Arm Position For Blood Pressure
Before telling you how different arm positions can change your measurement, Im going to tell you the right way to position your arm. For now on, you will be taking your pressure with your arm in this position, if youre not doing it already. You can put an end to false blood pressure readings, if you follow all the steps, especially with the arm.
This arm position is the recommended guideline as per the American College of Cardiology and The American Heart Association . Besides arm position, there are other steps needed for proper measurement. For the purpose of this blog post, Im only honing in on arm position. For the complete guide on all the steps, you can check out my blog post here, How To Use A Home Blood Pressure Monitor The Right Way. The following steps for proper arm position are:
Different Blood Pressure Readings From Left And Right Arm May Indicate Increased Risk Of Heart Attack Stroke And Death
In fact, blood pressure should be measured in both arms during a proper cardiovascular disease risk assessment.
Blood pressure measurement. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
While most people know of the harm both high blood pressure and low blood pressure can do to the body, many wouldnt know that the smallest factors could alter blood pressure measurements. Of course, the calibration and handling of the blood pressure machine itself matter but so do individual factors like how your arm is placed or what your body position is.
Factors that affect your blood pressure readings
A study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension in 2003 explains that you get very different blood pressure measurements if the patient is sitting upright or straight, if the right arm is raised to around the level of the heart and if the patient is supine or lying down and the arms are resting on the side. A 2007 study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing suggests that your blood pressure levels are likely to be recorded as lower if youre standing during the process instead of sitting or lying down.
Inter-arm differences in blood pressure
A study published in the BMJ in 2012 further suggests that dissimilarity in blood pressure readings on different arms by 10-15 mmHg is a sign that you have circulatory problems that can increase the risks of stroke, peripheral artery disease and other cardiovascular issues.
A large study on inter-arm differences
Also Check: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
Why Might Your Blood Pressure Be Different Between Your Two Arms
Your heart sits just to the left of the midline in your chest cavity. The largest blood vessel in the body, the aorta, leaves through the left side of the heart and transports blood to a network of branching blood vessels that supply the body with oxygen and nutrients.
The arteries that branch off the aorta and go towards the left and right sides of the body are different. On the right side, the brachiocephalic trunk comes off the aorta and splits into the right common carotid artery and right subclavian artery. The left common carotid and left subclavian arteries to come directly off the aorta. These differences mean that the risk for increased turbulence leading to arterial thrombosis is not the same for the right and left subclavian arteries. Arterial thrombosis causes blood vessel stiffening and obstruction over time and is four times more likely in the left subclavian than in the right. The difference in arterial branching affects the blood pressure measured on the left and right arms.
Blood vessels are surrounded by muscle, fat, and connective tissue. When muscles put pressure on the blood vessels around the heart, it can cause transient turbulence, which may affect blood pressure. However, this effect on blood pressure should be temporary and minor, which is why its important to understand your blood pressure on both sides of the body.
Why Should I Monitor My Blood Pressure At Home
The American Heart Association recommends that anyone with, or at risk of high blood pressure, should monitor their blood pressure at home. Home blood pressure monitoring is one of the best methods of trending a persons blood pressure in their own environment.
Click here for more information from the American Heart Association on who should monitor at home, and why.
Recommended Reading: Onion Lower Blood Pressure
When Its Time To See A Health Care Provider
If you have a significant blood pressure difference between arms , you should see your health care provider. If they also measure a blood pressure difference of more than 10 points between arms, they may order another test referred to as the ankle-brachial index test to rule out peripheral artery disease.
Difference In Blood Pressure Between Arms Linked To Greater Early Death Risk
- University of Exeter
- Robust evidence from a large international study confirms that a difference in blood pressure readings between arms is linked to greater risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
Robust evidence from a large international study confirms that a difference in blood pressure readings between arms is linked to greater risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
Led by the University of Exeter, the global INTERPRESS-IPD Collaboration conducted a meta-analysis of all the available research, then merged data from 24 global studies to create a database of nearly 54,000 people. The data spanned adults from Europe, the US, Africa and Asia for whom blood pressure readings for both arms were available.
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research and published today in Hypertension, the study is the first to conclude that the greater the inter-arm blood pressure difference, the greater the patient’s additional health risk.
Currently, international blood pressure guidelines advise health professionals to measure blood pressure in both arms when assessing cardiovascular risk,- yet this is widely ignored. The new study provides a new upper limit of ‘normal’ for an inter-arm difference in blood pressure, which is significantly lower than the current guidance. The research could lead to a change in international hypertension guidelines, meaning more at-risk patients could be identified and receive potentially life-saving treatment.
Also Check: Do Onions Lower Blood Pressure
How Do I Assemble And Apply The D
When the cuff is assembled correctly, the hook material will be on the outside of the cuff loop and the metal d-ring will not touch your skin. If the cuff is not assembled, pass the end of the cuff furthest from the tubing through the metal d-ring to form a loop. The smooth cloth should be on the inside of the cuff loop.
Blood Pressure Can Fluctuate
In everyday life, of course, the average persons blood pressure is variable. It changes frequently, around the clock. It rises with exercise or any other physical activity or with emotional excitement and drops during sleep and during times of relaxation.
Doctors focus most often on resting blood pressure for diagnosing and treating hypertension. It is immensely important to get several blood pressure readings, both at your doctors office and outside, for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of hypertension.
In recent years, durable, inexpensive, accurate, portable blood pressure monitors have become readily available to patients. This has helped both patients and doctors to improve blood pressure management. With a portable monitor, my patients are able to monitor their blood pressure at homeunder consistent circumstances and over a longer time periodgiving me a solid snapshot of their condition on an ongoing basis.
Also Check: Do Onions Lower Blood Pressure
What Is Systolic Pressure
The heart is a pump that works in tandem with the lungs. The right side of the heart sends oxygen-deficient red blood cells to the lungs for gas exchange and the left side of the heart receives back oxygen-rich blood to pump to the rest of the body.
During the pumping phase, pressure in the blood vessels naturally rises. We measure that as systolic pressurethe top number of your resting blood pressure. Normal systolic blood pressure should be around 120.
The UK study identifies 10 points as the critical threshold of difference between the arms. Thats lower than the previous guideline of 15. For example, systolic blood pressure of 118 in one arm and 120 in the other causes little concern. But a reading of 120 in one arm and 131 in the other does. Recognizing this often-overlooked difference and delving further into a personal history and physical exam, together with additional targeted testing, may prevent a catastrophic cardiovascular event down the line.
How Do I Measure My Arm Circumference
To determine your arm size, use a cloth tape measure and place midway between your elbow and your shoulder around the circumference of your upper arm. Wrap the tape measure evenly around your arm. Do not pull the tape tight. Note the precise measurement in inches. Determine which size cuff is best for you, then purchase a home blood pressure monitor with that size cuff included.
Read Also: Is Vinegar Good For High Blood Pressure
When I Take My Blood Pressure Reading In My Left Arm It Hurts And My Arm Changes Color Should It
When I take my blood pressure in my left arm, it inflated to 170, about the same as my right arm, but when it is deflating, when it gets to about 100, my arm starts hurting really bad and my arm from the elbow down and my hand actually turns blue too. I was wondering what causes this?
While filled with air, the cuff is cutting your blood circulation off from your forearm and hand. Once enough pressure is reduced in the cuff the blood flow returns to normal, but only after a surge of both oxygenated and tapped blood .
Pale skin would be from lack of blood flow completely, and this is why your arm and hand turn white while the cuff is fully inflated. Blue skin from lack of oxygen in the tissue is called cyanosis . When the oxygenated blood is again allowed into your arm and hand, it quickly supplies that oxygen to the tissue, but not before venous return of the oxygenated blood that was trapped there. As this blue blood resumes its cycle after interruption, the “wave” or surge and the pressure energy it releases pushes it into the tissues.
And come on, it’s not really painful so much as intensely sensitized for a few moments. What would you expect from a surge of pressure along the tissue, veins, and muscles that would expand the sub-dermal stuff beyond the natural extent of a homeostatic body? I like the throbbing feeling of “pain” personally. Feels weird.
Health & Wellness6 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Without Pills
Nevertheless, the study shows that differences in blood pressure between the arms is correlated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events. And that higher risk might be enough to help doctors convince patients that its necessary to work at lowering blood pressure.
While the authors suggest that doctors routinely measure blood pressure in both arms, thats unlikely to happen since there is already so much to cover in each visit.
A solution could be for patients to measure their blood pressure in both arms on their own.
I am a fan of engaging patients in their hypertension management, Muldoon said. Automated cuffs are not expensive. In some respects its more practical to expect patients to do this.
The American Heart Association offers some tips on how to get the most accurate home blood pressure readings:
If your numbers are concerning, talk to your doctor. It’s helpful to have a record of past readings for an informed discussion about your risk and next steps.
Linda Carroll is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who is a contributing health and medicine writer for NBC News and TODAY. She is co-author of three books: The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic, Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings and Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racings Greatest Rivalry.
Don’t Miss: Does Claritin Affect Blood Pressure
Will I See Differences Between My Readings At Home Compared To Readings In My Doctor’s Office
Yes, you will see some differences. This is normal and can occur for many reasons. Some of the more common reasons are:
So do not be alarmed when you see differences between your readings at home compared to your readings in your doctors office. Discuss it with your doctor to get the best overall picture of your heart health.