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Wednesday, 11 October 2017 - 10:41
Checking blood pressure in both arms could save your life
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Taking the blood pressure of both arms rather than just one could help doctors spot hidden heart disease.

A study found that when there was a big difference between the two readings, seemingly healthy people were 38 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or other potentially deadly cardiovascular problem.

This suggests that something as inexpensive, quick and simple as taking an extra blood pressure reading could give patients valuable early warning of problems.

They could then make changes to their lifestyle to improve their heart health.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School in the US took blood pressure readings from both arms of nearly 3,400 outwardly healthy men and women aged 40-plus.

Small differences in readings between the right and left arms are normal.

In the study, systolic pressure, the higher of the two figures in a blood pressure reading, varied on average by about five points.

In 10 per cent of patients, there was a difference of ten points or more between arms.

These men and women were 38 per cent more likely to have a heart attack, including a fatal one, stroke or related problem during the next 13 years.

It is thought that if there is a big difference between the two readings, the artery supplying the arm with the higher reading is likely to be clogged with fat.

High blood pressure trebles the risk of heart attacks and strokes, can damage the kidneys and eyes, and is becoming increasingly linked to dementia.

Heart disease and strokes claim more than 160,000 lives annually and every seven minutes someone in Britain dies from a heart attack.

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