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Blood Pressure Paradox

Published: June 2, 2010

Q: The systolic (top) blood pressure reading in my right arm runs 12 to 18 points higher than in my left. Results from an EKG and sonogram of my chest, neck, and arms were normal. Any suggestions?

A: Blood pressure readings are normally the same in both arms. On occasion, an obstruction in the artery that carries blood to one arm can reduce the pressure in that arm. If the sonogram completely ruled out an arterial obstruction and you have no symptoms, then I would probably do nothing further except schedule regular checkups to be sure nothing crops up in the future.

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