Wondering why your blood pressure readings differ when measured from both arms? Read this article to know the factors that can influence and what are the red signals.
- Blood pressure changes are normal, and so are the varying measurements between the two arms.
- One can suspect an underlying disease if the differences between the readings are significant.
- Error in the ways by which readings are taken, or faulty machines can also lead to differences in the readings.
Everyone wonders what the blood pressure changes in the arms of your body indicate. Well, it is a common practice for doctors to measure the pressure of blood during each checkup.
Earlier it used to be common practice to check blood pressure, but with time the regulations and practices changed.
If the BP change is different in the reading obtained from both of your arms, it can or cannot be a cause for concern. Read on to get to know more about the causes and differences behind such a condition.
Difference In Blood Pressure In The Arms
Normally, there is a difference in the pressure of blood readings between the two arms. Small changes are usually never a cause of concern, but anything above 10 mm Hg can be an indication of an underlying issue.
The difference can be in both systolic (top number) as well as diastolic blood pressure (lower number). One can easily measure these changes at home with the help of a blood pressure machine and analyze them with the help of a bp chart.
Besides the health conditions that may cause the difference in blood pressure, manual or machine error can also lead to varied readings. It is important to ensure that these BP readings are taken with cuffs on bare skin and that the machine is handled well.
What Can Blood Pressure Difference In Arms Indicate?
Reoccurring differences in blood pressure can indicate several cardiovascular or other diseases.
Peripheral artery disease
This is a common condition because of which the arteries narrow down and reduce the blood flow to the arms or legs. In such a condition, the body parts do not receive enough blood flow, which can be a reason for the blood pressure difference.
Many lifestyle and general factors lead to high blood pressure, which can, in turn, lead to PAD. These factors may vary from smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, age, gender and much more.
This is a long-lasting health issue that can affect the bloodstream as well as the kidneys. These also tend to change blood pressure readings.
The combination of high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes will increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Certain hormones like adrenaline are released when the blood sugar falls too low, which also leads to changes in blood pressure.
These can also lead to pressure changes between the arms. Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD is a condition that leads to failure of the kidneys due to HBP along with other factors.
In conditions such as hypertension, the blood vessels in the kidneys constrict and weaken the vessels throughout the body. This can also lead to injury of the organs. Managing high blood pressure can eventually slow the progression of this disease; therefore, it is also important to take readings frequently.
In case the blood vessels of the kidneys are damaged, they may not be able to remove the fluids and extra waste from the body. This extra fluid in the body can raise blood pressure even more.
In the beginning, one may not notice any particular symptoms, but as it progresses, one can observe muscle cramping, lack of appetite, inability to focus and oedema.
Differences in the blood pressure between the two arms can also indicate underlying heart disease.
The difference can be due to the damaged arteries that make them less elastic and decrease the blood flow. In such a condition, along with the varying readings, one can also observe chest pain, often known as angina.
Atherosclerosis is another condition where the artery walls can accumulate fats, cholesterol, and other compounds. This build-up can cause arteries to narrow down and block the blood flow. Usually, in this condition, the blood pressure readings vary between the two arms.
People observing a difference of 15 points or more in their readings are usually at risk of cholesterol-clogged arteries in the legs, arms, or other parts of the body. These can lead to strokes or heart diseases.
This condition can be long-lasting when not managed properly. Hypertension can cause many issues and also indicates a significant difference between the readings of the two arms.
One should have less salt intake and natural supplements, avoid alcohol, limit smoking, and follow a healthy lifestyle in case of hypertension.
Excessive weight also links directly to inter-arm BP differences. If one is checking BP from both arms regularly, the readings may help medical health professionals determine the condition. Moreover, a conclusion can be drawn if any other disease is associated.
Important Things To Note That Can Affect Your Blood Pressure Readings
There are a couple of do’s and don’ts when it comes to monitoring blood pressure at home. Several factors that affect BP levels are as the following:
- Caffeine intake should be avoided for 30 minutes before reading. This is because caffeine is known to elevate blood pressure.
- Make sure your body is resting and your feet are on the floor before taking the reading.
- Make sure that the cuff is tight and follow the instructions on the machine carefully.
- Take multiple readings if necessary.
There are many changes that take place from time to time in the human body. It is necessary to know what are the factors that affect blood pressure readings and the things to look out for.
Some of the fluctuations in the readings can be ignored, but others may directly reflect a problem related to the heart.
In case of concerns regarding blood pressure conditions, it is important to talk to your medical professional and take regular blood pressure readings from both arms.
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