85 years old, male. Blood pressure 158/90 differs 20 points less on right arm. Why?

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2 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

Generally, a small difference in blood pressure readings between arms isn't a health concern. However, a difference of more than 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for either your top number (systolic pressure) or bottom number (diastolic) may be a sign of blocked arteries in the arms, diabetes or other health problem.

People who repeatedly have a difference of 10 to 15 mm Hg for systolic pressure are more likely to have vascular disease. They also have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease and related complications during the next 13 years.

A large difference in blood pressure measurement between your arms may be a sign of a health problem, such as:

  • Blocked arteries in your arms (peripheral artery disease)
  • Cognitive decline
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart defect

If you have a large difference in blood pressure readings between arms, talk to your doctor. If your blood pressure is higher in one arm, your doctor will probably use that arm to measure your blood pressure in the future.

Under normal circumstances, there is normally a difference of 10 to 20 mmHg between the blood pressure  readings of two arms. You don't have to worry about the difference. That said, your blood pressure is a little high.

Normal systolic blood pressure is between 90 and 139, and diastolic blood pressure is between 60 and 89. You should monitor your blood pressure regularly. Also, you can improve your lifestyle to adjust your blood pressure by eating a low-salt diet, stopping smoking and restricting alcohol, and exercising moderately.