Bp Radically Different In Each Arm On Routine Screening


Asked by Lefty

Bp Radically Different In Each Arm On Routine Screening

I'm a 47yo male with Hypertension 1 for a couple of years now, but have had difficuly getting it managed because of drug interactions between the diuretic qualities of some of the antihypertensives and the Lithium I was taking. The Lithium took priority, I guess, at the time. My internist moved to the coast and I havent had any follow-up on the BP in a couple of years. I'm now taking Lamictal instead of the Lithium Carbonate.

Here's the thing. I tried to donate blood the other day and was rejected (in a nice way) because my pressure was 137/78 in my left (dominant) arm, but 187/108 in my right arm. I sat there for maybe 20 minutes and the results of additional measurments were consistant with the first. They told me to follow-up with my doc ASAP. I'm getting the same sorts of readings here at home albeit with one of those wrist monitors.

I've also had some numbness in my left hand and ringing in my ears over the last month and lots of these little red spots/bruises under my skin around my ankles. No wicked headaches, dizzyness, slurred speech or anything like that. My vision is a little more hazy, but it's been declining since I hit 40! I don't belive any of this to be an emergency of any kind, but it's going to take a couple months to get into see a new internist. How should I proceed... Take a chill-pill and wait, go to the immediate care or do not pass go and head directly to the ER?

Any guidence is appreciated.


Hi Lefty,

It is not unusual for your blood pressure to be different in one arm than the other. Blood pressure may be slightly higher in your dominant arm. For example, if you are right-handed, you may get a higher blood pressure reading when taken on your right arm. Usually the difference between arms is 10 mm Hg or less. Now, if you have heart disease, studies show the difference between arms to be greater. The arm with the higher blood pressure, is the one you should monitor.

Here is a post that may help:

What if my blood pressure is different in both arms?

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD

7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Answered by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN