Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Doctors should check blood pressure on both arms: study

I don't think a lot of doctors are aware of this, or they don't buy it; I've had a recent check-up from our local company clinic, and the usual left-arm check was done... or maybe the situation doesn't call for it... maybe...

Posted: 30 January 2012
A man has his blood pressure checked by a nurse. (AFP Photo/Hector Retamal)
PARIS: Measuring blood pressure on both arms rather than only one can reveal an elevated risk of heart disease or even death, according to a study released on Monday.

In a review of medical literature, researchers at the University of Exeter found that a difference in the so-called systolic blood pressure between arms can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble.

People with high blood pressure - also called hypertension - have an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia, previous research has shown.

High blood pressure is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as 140 over 90 millimetres of mercury or more. Mercury is used in blood-pressure gauges.

The first number measures maximum heart pressure (systolic), while the second measures pressure when the heart is in a resting phase (diastolic).

Published in the British medical journal The Lancet, the findings suggest that both-arm blood pressure checks should become standard practice, the researchers said.

The probe reviewed 28 studies with data on the difference in systolic blood pressure between arms.

They concluded that a gap of 15mm of mercury or more was linked with an increased risk of the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet.

It was also associated with pre-existing cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood supply to the brain and can contribute to dementia.

Above this threshold, death rates due to cardiovascular problems likewise went up.

Most such cases are "clinically silent" and double-arm checks would better identify those at risk, the study said.

- AFP/al

Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
Doctors should check blood pressure on both arms: study

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