Blood pressure imbalance could indicate risk of heart disease

Wed, 08 Feb 2012
A study from the University of Exeter found that having a significant difference in blood pressure readings taken from the left and right arms suggest an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The study found that having a difference in readings of 15 mm of mercury between the two arms indicate higher risks of vascular diseases by as much as 70%.

The study involved reviewing 20 previously run studies which had taken measurements from both arms. Where the difference between blood pressure measurements in each arm was 15 points or more, the chances of dying from cardiovascular disease were 70% higher and the risks of suffering stroke or dementia (cerebrovascular disease) was 60% higher.

Lead researcher of the study, Dr Christopher Clark, explained why the difference in blood pressure is significant: "The blood vessels in both arms are, of course, connected to the same circulation, so there must a narrowing to cause the drop in pressure."

Narrowing in blood vessels is a common sign that the vessels have been affected by vascular disease . The findings could see measurements of both arms becoming common practice if new blood pressure guidelines are drawn up as a result.
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