Is it important to take blood pressure readings on both arms?

Posted 05/02/2012 | By HealthCorps

Though your doctor will routinely only take a blood pressure reading in one arm, it might be a good idea to ask for a reading from both arms. Recent research suggests that a difference of 15 millimeters of mercury or more in the systolic (top number of the equation) from one arm to the other, may suggest increased risk of stroke or death from heart disease. A 10 millimeter difference can suggest the possibility of “hardened leg arteries.” If there is heart disease, stroke or hypertension in your family history, ask your doctor to test both arms routinely.

If there is a history of heart disease in your family, then you and your kids should have blood pressure screenings. Another good habit would be to start watching salt consumption – the whole family will benefit from this healthy habit.

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