Skip to content

New Sign You Might Have a Heart Attack, Study Says

Discuss a change the next time you get a blood pressure reading at the doctor’s office.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Woman have her blood pressure checked by female doctor.

Monitoring your blood pressure is an important tool in preventing some of the most common killers in the United States—heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — all which are associated with high blood pressure. One third of the population suffers from high blood pressure. Most people tend to measure their blood pressure on one arm. However, new research has found "robust evidence" that relying on a one-arm reading could be a deadly mistake. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

Get Your Blood Pressure Checked in Both Arms, Study Advises

A meta-analysis of 24 global studies published in December in the journal Hypertension urges the importance of taking blood pressure readings from both arms, confirming that a difference in the two is linked to greater risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

"We've long known that a difference in blood pressure between the two arms is linked to poorer health outcomes. The large numbers involved in the INTERPRESS-IPD study help us to understand this in more detail,"  lead author Dr. Chris Clark, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom said in an accompanying statement. "It tells us that the higher the difference in blood pressure between arms, the greater the cardiovascular risk, so it really is critical to measure both arms to establish which patients may be at significantly increased risk."

Blood pressure increases and decreases in a cycle with each pulse and is measured in units of millimetres of mercury (mmHg). There are two numbers offered during a reading, with the upper (systolic) reading representing the maximum blood pressure and the lower (diastolic) value is the minimum blood pressure. High blood pressure (aka hypertension) is indicated by a high systolic blood pressure.

"A significant difference between the systolic blood pressure measurements in the two arms could be indicative of a narrowing, or a stiffening, of the arteries, which can affect blood flow," the accompanying study materials explain. "These arterial changes are recognised as a further risk marker for subsequent heart attack, stroke or early death, and should be investigated for treatment."

According to the researchers findings, each mmHg difference found between the two arms, elevated predicted 10-year risk of new angina, a heart attack, or stroke, occurring by one percent; new angina, a heart attack or stroke.

RELATED: Most COVID Patients Did This Before Getting Sick

What to Discuss With Your Doctor

How will this new research impact you? "Patients who require a blood pressure check should now expect that it's checked in both arms, at least once," says Dr. Clark. So discuss that with your doctor, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.