For years I had my bp checked on an irregular basis by the same nurse at work. She always, always took my bp on my left arm. It was pretty consistent around 110/70. I changed jobs a few years ago and just didn't bother with getting anything checked - felt perfectly healthy (don't bother lecturing about the need for regular checkups, my new doctor has already done that). Anyway, to the point, when I started getting my bp checked again a couple of months ago the systolic reading on my right arm was 20 points higher than on my left arm. Diastolic reading differential was less dramatic, about 7 points lower on the left. This was consistent for 8 weeks, then the differential flipflopped. Now systolic reading on my left arm is 10 points *higher* than on my right, while the diastolic number is equal. When I first started going to the doctor, she suggested that the right arm measurement should be taken as the benchmark, since it was the higher of the two. On average, my bp is now "high normal", still high on one side, ok on the other. Which, if any, is the one to go by?
The reason behind taking the bp in the left arm is that
it is closer to the heart and therefore is more accurate an indicator of things. There usually is some
difference is the pressure in the right and left arms
during bp. Other things that can affect the reading
are: Laughing, stress, anger, walking, excercising,
just the sress of the office visit, and other medical
conditions. Hope this helps some.
Always have bloodpressure taken according to "protocol", that is, sit in a chair, legs not crossed, remain silent, no talking for 5 to 10 minutes. BP should be repeated in 5 mins. and again in another 5 minutes. Have BP taken in both arms and the one with highest number should be used.
Also ask when the person taking pressure last had their hearing checked, they may not have good hearing and will not hear the first or last heart beat.
The above was advised by Dr. Grim, Hypertension Researcher, Wisconsin Medical School, a practicing hypertension physician.
After walking to the room, sitting on table with no back rest, etc. BP will always be higher and not a correct representative as to what your pressure really is.