22 December 2020

Watch your hands!

Different indicators of systolic blood pressure in both hands were associated with an increased risk of mortality

Olga Ivanova, Naked Science

The study was published in the journal Hypertension (Clark et al., Associations Between Systolic Interarm Differences in Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes and Mortality).

It is known that the difference in blood pressure indicators between a person's hands is associated with a deterioration in health. But how much and how exactly, scientists did not know. Although doctors are aware of the connection between cardiovascular diseases and the difference in blood pressure indicators, as a rule, they ignore the recommendation about such measurements.

It is understandable, because the knowledge about this is rather vague. The gap was filled by an international team of specialists who conducted a meta-analysis of 24 global studies on this topic, bringing together data on the health of almost 53,827 people from different countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, as well as the United States. The researchers analyzed the difference in the "upper" blood pressure in both hands of each participant and the number of deaths, heart attacks and strokes that occurred among them for more than 10 years.

Scientists have found that the greater the difference in pressure indicators between the hands, the higher the risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and death from them. They concluded that a difference of one millimeter of mercury by one percent increases the risk of death of CVD, stroke and death.

Before that, it was believed that the threshold difference between the pressure indicators in the left and right hand is 15 millimeters of mercury. This study showed that the upper limit of the norm should be considered a difference of 10 millimeters of mercury.

Such indicators may indicate narrowing and stiffness of the arteries, which affects blood flow. According to the researchers, their findings will be useful for practical application in medicine and they need to be implemented in medical practice.

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