Study: Doctors Taking Blood Pressure Wrong?

Fred Bodimer, KMOX Health & Religion Editor

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Does your doctor take your blood pressure in both arms? A new review of recent research suggests that’s the way it should be done.

This new British study, published in the Lancet, says doctors should routinely compare blood pressure readings from both arms to prevent unnecessary deaths. Washington University and Barnes Jewish cardiologist Dr. Alan Braverman agrees.

“A normal finding would be blood pressure similar in each arm,” Braverman explained. “A blood pressure different from one arm to the other by more than 10mm of mercury is an abnormal finding and that can be a sign of underlying vascular disease.”

Braverman says doctors should always check blood pressure in both arms during an initial visit with a patient — or if someone comes in with a history of high blood pressure. On subsequent visits you don’t necessarily have to do it in both arms, he says, but definitely for the first time.

If vascular disease is detected early, treatments such as stopping smoking, blood pressure medicine and offering statins can reduce death rates.

(Copyright KMOX Radio)


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