January 31, 2012
SUNDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) — People whose systolic blood pressure — the upper number in their reading — is different in their left and right arms may be suffering from a vascular disease that could increase their risk of death, British researchers report. The arteries under the collarbone supply blood to the arms, legs and brain. Blockage can lead to stroke and other problems, the researchers noted, and measuring blood pressure in both arms should be routine. “This is an important [finding] for the general public and for primary care doctors,” said Dr. William O’Neill, a professor of cardiology and executive dean of clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “Traditionally, most people just check blood pressure in one arm, but if there is a difference, then one of the arteries has disease in it,” he said. The arteries that run under the collarbone can get blocked, especially in smokers and diabetics, he noted. “If one artery is more blocked than the other, then there is a difference in blood pressure in the arms,” O’Neill explained.
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