People with high blood pressure who have different readings in their right and left arms are more likely to die within a decade than those with the same levels, a new study has found.
Researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, writing in the British Medical Journal, said the findings support national guidelines advising doctors to measure blood pressure in both arms – recommendations that are not being routinely followed.
For the study, researchers tracked the health of 230 patients with high blood pressure between 1999 and 2002.
They found a 9 percent increase in risk of death for every incremental differences in blood pressure readings between patients’ arms. The findings suggest that blood pressure should be routinely measured in all patients undergoing treatment for hypertension.
"Inter-arm difference [is] a simple indicator of increased cardiovascular risk,” the authors wrote, suggesting assessment of blood pressure in both arms should become a "core component" in treatment.