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Warning on blood pressure variation

Published on 31 January 2012 02:30 PM

A difference in blood pressure between a person's left and right arm can help medical staff establish a greater risk of heart disease or even death, a study has claimed.

Scientists from the University of Exeter studied 28 pieces of research which contained information on the differences in systolic blood pressure between patients' arms.

The World Health Organisation defines high blood pressure - which previous research has shown leads to a greater risk of heart disease, stroke or kidney disease - as 140 over 90 millimetres of mercury or more. Mercury is used in blood pressure gauges.

However, the University of Exeter study findings, published in The Lancet, claimed a difference of 15mm of mercury between arms was linked with an increased risk of the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet.

The risk of death due to a cardiovascular event increased in tandem with the widening blood pressure gap between arms, according to the study, which said that patients at high risk could be identified by double arm checks.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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