Ask the doctors
I read that I should take my blood pressure in both arms, not just one. Is this really necessary?
A. It is a good idea to measure your blood pressure in both arms, because differences in the readings may indicate a higher risk of heart disease.
A report published in the February 2021 issue of Hypertension examined 24 studies that measured blood pressure in both arms and found that people who had a difference of at least 5 points between the systolic readings (the top number) on the left and right arms were at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, or an early death, compared with those who did not. Lower blood pressure in one arm is most often due to plaque buildup in the artery of that arm, signaling that other arteries in your body such as those to the heart and brain are probably affected.
With this in mind, be certain to ask to have your blood pressure checked in both arms at your next doctor's visit, or do it yourself at home. If you see a persistent difference, your doctor will likely advise additional testing, lifestyle changes, and perhaps medication to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
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