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Different blood pressure readings on both hands. Is it normal? Family history of dementia

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Practicing since : 1981
Answered : 922 Questions
I am a 45 year old female. Never had any major health problems and my blood pressure has always been around 115/75-80. I monitor my bp at home and noticed that my left arm reading for systolic has been about 10 points lower than my right. I have been under a great deal of stress for the last few months due to the fact that my mom who is end to late stage dementia has been living with us. Could this have any effect on my blood pressure.
Posted Tue, 5 Jun 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 44 minutes later
Thanks for writing in.
I am a cardiologist and curious why you are measuring blood pressure in both arms? Your BP is normal and any difference of more than 10 mm of Hg would concern me but not worry. For that will call for detailed physical examination of your heart and vascular system. Meanwhile just go through the list of risk factors for coronary artery heart disease if you have any then please consult a doctor for further advice. We describe risk factors as follow
Modifiable Non Modifiable
Hypertension Family History of Coronary Heart Disease
Diabetes Mellitus Increasing Age
Smoking Male Gender (after age 45 both are for equal risk)
Obesity and Lack of Exercise
Increased Bad Cholesterol e.g. LDL
Decreased Good Cholesterol e.g. HDL (for women normal is > 50 mg%)
Increased Lipoprotein a (LPa)
Folic Acid deficiency in elderly

Stress can increase your blood pressure temporarily but it would not cause hypertension as such.
I hope I have answered your question. If any point needs further clarification, please do not hesitate to call back.

Dr Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Different blood pressure readings on both hands. Is it normal? Family history of dementia 12 hours later
Hello Doctor and thank you for your response. I checked both arms after coming across an article from earlier this year that talked about different BP readings and the risk of cardiovascular problems if there was a difference of more than 10 points. Out of curiosity I check ed my right arm and it was approximately 15-20 points higher than my left. I also found that my right arm reading was in the normal range while my left was closer to a systolic of 105
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 2 hours later

You are quite right when the difference in systolic blood pressure between two arms is more than 10 mm Hg on repeated recordings three possible conditions should be considered and excluded:
1. Coarctation of Aorta your femoral pulse will be absent or delayed in this
situation. It is unlikely that it would have remained
without being diagnosed in an educated adult person.

2. Aortoarteritis Common in India and oriental countries. Again radial,
brachial and carotid pulses or at least one of these on
one side would be feeble Unlikely in your case.

3. Accelrated Atherosclerosis On basis of data given by you in your follow up I am
unable to exclude entirely. I would urge you consult
your physician who can exclude it by examination of
all peripheral pulses, temporal artery and fundus and
do an EKG to exclude it.

Personally, I have a feeling that you have none of these three conditions.

Best Wishes

Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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