Harvard Heart Letter

Measure blood pressure in both arms

Measuring blood pressure in both arms may reveal important information about a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Small differences between the right and left arm are normal. But large ones—more than 10 points—may suggest the presence of artery-clogging plaque in the vessel that supplies blood to the arm with lower blood pressure. Such plaque is a signal of peripheral artery disease, which suggests that arteries in the heart and brain are also clogged, boosting the odds of having a heart attack or stroke.
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