Should your doctor be alarmed if you have high blood pressure in one arm and what does this mean?

“High blood pressure in one arm is something that is important to notice and report to your doctor,” says Donna P. Denier, MD, of The Cardiology Center with the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.

“If your doctor seems unconcerned, it may be because he or she already knows you well and understands your medical conditions and what is normal for you. Do not assume this, of course.”

Have you discovered, using a home blood pressure gadget, that one of your arms has high blood pressure?

“It’s always wise to bring a finding that concerns you to your doctor’s attention,” says Dr. Denier.

“It’s common to see small differences in the blood pressure readings of each arm.

“Differences of 20 millimeters of mercury for the systolic or 10 mm Hg for the diastolic may be a sign of a health problem.

“This can be caused by narrowing of the blood vessels that travel to that arm.

“Other things that may cause this are chronic kidney disease, diabetes or atherosclerosis, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

My father has a history of having high blood pressure in one arm—not that high, but in the low range of what would be considered “high.”

He was told to take a reading daily and record the numbers.

He doesn’t have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, but he does have heart disease.

His coronary calcium score three years ago was 1195. Over time, the particular arm eventually began yielding readings under 140/90. His doctor was never alarmed over this.

Alert your doctor if you discover that the blood pressure in one arm is higher than the other.

Nevertheless, your doctor should know if you’ve uncovered this phenomenon via a home blood pressure gadget, to see what this finding may mean for your unique medical situation.

donna denier, md

Dr. Denier has been practicing medicine for over 15 years and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine – Cardiovascular Disease.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  



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