Taking readings in only one arm might not tell the whole story
Your doc likely checks to see if you have healthy blood pressure in one arm, but a Framingham Heart Study suggests that taking readings in both arms may help better identify patients at higher risk of heart disease. When researchers analyzed data on nearly 3,400 patients over 13 years, they found that about 10 percent of participants showed higher systolic readings (the upper number) in one arm. Those with arm-to-arm discrepancies of ten points or more were 38 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or other coronary event. Such imbalances may indicate plaque in major arteries. Here are some easy ways to improve your systolic pressure.
Your BP might be lower than you think
The top blood pressure number (systolic pressure) averages seven points lower when a nurse measures it instead of a doctor, according to a University of Exeter study, reported by Good Housekeeping. Ask your doctor about this phenomenon—called white coat hypertension—before starting or tweaking a prescription. Here are some more heart-health tips cardiologists want you to know.