A recent study published in the British Medical Journal shows that a large difference between the Blood Pressure measured in each arm suggests a bigger risk of premature death.
This study of 230 high blood pressure patients found those with the biggest difference in systolic pressure are more likely to die from a heart attack, stroke or other causes.
Dr Christopher Clark from the Peninsular College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter, who led the study, said the message to doctors was simple:
“Sorry guys, but you really need to follow the guidelines by measuring both arms when you’re assessing blood pressure”.
He also said that patients with high blood pressure who measure their own blood pressure should follow the same advice.
It is normal to have a small difference in blood pressure between both arms, however if this difference becomes large, it may indicate peripheral vascular disease – which is often symptomless.
As an Osteopath, I have found that a large difference in blood pressure between arms may also be found in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.