Blood pressure: why it should be measured in both arms

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Right arm or left arm? Both of them. This is what your doctor (or pharmacist) should answer during your next blood pressure check.

A previous large British study, published in 2012, had already mentioned the link between a difference in blood pressure in the two arms and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. He concluded that it was necessary to take the time to take two shots, one on each arm. A gesture that is far from being carried out in a systematic way by healthcare professionals.

However, there is much to be gained, according to researchers at the University of Exeter (UK). His new study confirms the interest of this double assessment. The team analyzed the relationship between blood pressure measurements in both arms of more than 50,000 patients (in 54 different studies) and their cardiovascular health status over ten years (stroke, heart attack, death, etc.). Their conclusions: A significant difference (more than 10 mmHg) in blood pressure between the two arms is a bad sign. This gap could be synonymous with arterial problems (narrowing, stiffness, etc.) and changes in blood circulation, which could explain this increased cardiovascular risk and death.

According to the authors, therefore, we must consider that a difference of 10 mmHg between the two arms already constitutes an "increased risk" (currently the institutions consider it rather from a difference of 15 mmHg). According to them, about 10% of people with high blood pressure fall into this category and therefore require even more careful monitoring.

Blood pressure measurement, a fast, inexpensive and non-invasive procedure, is essential for the early detection of hypertension (blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg measured in consultation and persistent over time) and to monitor the evolution of the blood pressure in an already hypertensive patient.

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