Originally Posted by jammann
What i cannot work out is why are my readings inconsistent? Why is my right arm reading always between 10-20 higher than my left arm reading? And why have i got high blood pressure when i do it in my right arm but normal blood pressure when i do it in my left arm? Do i actually have high blood pressure?
I have done a little reading on this concern of yours. I couldn't find a lot of info on why your readings are different, between arms. I have some information that I found, and will post.
I read that if you have a lesion (blockage) in the brachial artery of one of your arms, the BP in that arm will be lower, assuming the lesion was above the cuff, or high in the arm. This is not very likely, at all. You would probably have some associated symptoms, due to reduced blood flow.
If there is a significant difference in the size of your arm, which I doubt, or you would have mentioned it, this can effect the reading. If you are using too small of a cuff size, this will cause a higher reading.
I suspect that it is totally normal. I think that I have noticed a difference between my two arms. You should always go with the higher reading, I have read. This is probably because it's the conservative approach to possible hypertension.
Your reading was the same at the doc's office, so I wouldn't worry about it. If it continues to bother you, go to different pharmacies, and have them check your BP with the real deal equipment. Many in my home town will do it for free. Pop in and try 2 or 3 stores, in both arms. Good luck.
The following was written by an RN that works for one of the companies that make the hospital BP monitoring equipment:
"Blood pressure is dynamic and can change in seconds. Even a change in the patient’s position usually produces a shift in blood pressure. And blood pressure is different in different extremities—it’s normal to have up to 10mmHg difference in BP between the right and left arms."
Also, here is some information that is interesting:
According to ****** (chairwoman of the American Heart Association Committee that reviewed the current blood pressure guidelines), taking a person's blood pressure when seated on the exam table with no back support can raise blood pressure by 10 points. Not an earth-shaking amount, but one that can buy a lot of intervention if your blood pressure is borderline already.
Similarly, Terent and Breig-Asberg (1994) found that taking the blood pressure with the arm at the side of the chest instead of supported at the level of the heart raised blood pressure by about 10 points as well. [Note that this is the average difference and that some differences may actually be quite a bit greater than 10 points.]
Netea et al. (1999) found that the common practice of having the patient rest her arms on the arm-rests of the chair also resulted in falsely elevated blood pressure values. Along with sitting with legs dangling and no back support, taking blood pressure with arms at the wrong level is probably one of the most common technique errors found.