Which arm is best for Blood Pressure measurement

If you are one of those who think that blood pressure can be measured through any arm, then you might be mistaken. Usually medical professionals measure blood pressure through left arm of the patient. But why is it done so ? Why can't we measure it through right hand ? These are very simple questions that can appear in mind of any person of scientific attitude. BetterHealthFacts.com will try to answer them and increase your knowledge about your body.

Blood Pressure is higher in dominant arm

Blood Pressure can be measured through any arm. However it is little bit higher in dominant arm. Most of the people are right-handed, hence left arm is preferred to measure blood pressure to get the better reading. Sometimes you should get BP checked in both of your arms to check the arm-to-arm difference.

More difference between arm-to-arm blood pressure

Small difference between arm-to-arm blood pressure is normal. If you observe that the difference between blood pressure in both of your hands is more, then you should get yourself checked by a specialist. Difference of around 5 points in systolic pressure is normal. But if it is more than 10 points then you should be more aware about your heart health, as your chances of heart diseases is more than an average person. 

If you are ever diagnosed with more arm-to-arm blood pressure difference then you should always get your blood pressure checked with that arm which shows higher blood pressure and get appropriate treatment. Usually higher arm-to-arm difference may be an indication of :

  • Blocked arteries in your arms (peripheral artery disease)
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart defect

Blocked arteries in your arm may show some visible symptoms like tightness, weakness, heaviness or cramping in that arm. Finger pain and sensitivity to cold are some of the other symptoms. Rarely fingers of the affected arm may turn pale or blue due to blockage. So such symptoms should not be ignored. Measuring blood pressure in both of your arms can be used to diagnose this disease at home.

Our kidneys perform blood filtration and high blood pressure is directly related to their performance and capacity. Some researches have shown that high blood pressure in any one arm may be a symptom of kidney disease.

Heart defect like narrowing of the aorta (main artery that comes out of heart) may result in a selective elevation in blood pressure. So you should consult a cardiologist if higher blood pressure is found in one arm only.

Conclusion: In a healthy person there is a very minor difference in arm-to-arm blood pressure. Usually dominant arm shows little bit higher BP. If the difference is more than 10 points (systolic) then you should consult a cardiologist and consider the higher BP as the actual blood pressure for further treatment or as suggested by the specialist.

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