A new study published in The Lancet journal suggests that doctors should check the blood pressure in both arms as the difference in the left and right arms could be a signal for an underlying health problem.
Researchers from the University of Exeter said that while the blood pressure is different in both the arms, it is the amount of difference between the two arms that could pinpoint a problem.
The researchers analyzed data from 28 different studies on the subject and found that the difference in systolic blood pressure of 10 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) between arms could mean that the patient has a high risk of asymptomatic peripheral vascular disease.
The researchers also said that a 15mg Hg would mean that the patient has a 70 percent risk of suffering from cardiovascular mortality and 60 percent risk of death from all causes. Writing that measuring blood pressure should become a routine practice, the researchers said, "Ascertainment of differences should become part of routine care, as opposed to a guideline recommendation that is mostly ignored."