23 Year Old Female With Low Blood Pressure And Different Blood Pressure In Different Arms.


Asked by MichelleRM

23 Year Old Female With Low Blood Pressure And Different Blood Pressure In Different Arms.

I am a 23 year old female with what I thought was just hypotension. My doctors would generally take my blood pressure only in my right arm (left arm has implanon), getting a BP of 110/65 on average. I recently went to my general practitioner, and she did both arms, getting 110/65 on my right arm, and 96/60 on my left. She checked both arms repeatedly to make sure the results were the same. My right hand is often cooler than my left hand (reported by people I touch), and I have been having some chest pain recently. I have no personal history of heart disease, and try to eat carefully because my father's family generally has high cholesterol and my mother's family has a tendency towards diabetes. My grandfather had a heart attack in his mid50s. I asked my GP and she said not to worry, but this doesn't seem normal. What could this be? What tests should I ask for?


Michelle - It is not uncommon for blood pressure readings to be higher in one arm over the other. The dominant arm may be a little higher, meaning if you are right-handed, it's not unusual for the right arm to have a higher reading. In more cases the difference between arms is 10 mm Hg or less. Studies show if you have heart disease, the difference between arms might be greater. The difference in your case is 14 mm Hg for systolic pressure and 5 mm Hg for diastolic. I agree with your GP and it's likely not a worry. Just something to be aware of and monitor periodically. The arm with the higher blood pressure is the one you should monitor in regards to high blood pressure. If one arm has a reading above 120/80, then you could be diagnosed with pre-hypertension even if the other arm is within normal. Here is a link to more information - What if my blood pressure is different in both arms? ~ Lisa Nelson RD

Answered by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN