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  1. #1
    Registered User Legbuh's Avatar
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    Blood Pressure, wrist vs arm

    Ive been doing side by side BP tests with the arm vs wrist machines. Sys is normally 10-15 higher and dis is 5-10 higher on the arm vs the wrist. Seems like quite a large discrepancy.

    My arms are just about 17" and the arm monitor I bought is made for that size. It does seem to get quite tight when it measures, though. My doc also uses the "large" cuff and my BP has always been high when visiting the doc. He's having me keep a log for a month, then he's going to test against his manual method when I visit him next. (I'm bringing both the arm and wrist ones)

    Anyone else have experience with either arm vs wrist BP monitors, or having issues of higher readings on the arm because of muscle mass? I have to believe it plays PART of a role.. but havent really found much info. I find it hard to believe that some of my friends who lay around smoking wacky tabacy, drinking every day and eating pizza have no BP issues, but myself who lifts 3x a week and runs 2-3x a week and eats "better than average" has BP issues.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who's run into this.
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  2. #2
    Going strong! TheIronMaster's Avatar
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    Hello i have wrist one it always reads high. My doc and i compared to see and there reading doing it the old fashioned way was much different.I threw my wrist one out after that.
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  3. #3
    Registered User tobymax123's Avatar
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    I have an upper-arm BP machine at home, which always gives me about the same reading as the forearm machines in drug stores and supermarkets. But my arms aren't 17".

    The home machines always say to use the left arm, and the supermarket machines are for the left arm, but in the Dr's office I get different readings between the left and right; almost always higher in the left arm.
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  4. #4
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    If you check your BP every 3 minutes you'll get different readings each time if you use wrist or arm methods so it's hard to compare across the board. I'd realistically say the arm method in the Dr offfice is the most accurate but when you're thre you're usually stressed about being there so that changes the normal reading. Personally the at home method with a good wrist unit is accurate enough to tell you what's happening
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by Legbuh View Post
    ...eating pizza have no BP issues, but myself who lifts 3x a week and runs 2-3x a week and eats "better than average" has BP issues.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who's run into this.
    Diet and Exercise can help BP issues but for the most part it's genetics. I'm of the HBP genetic group (woohoo, lucky me!) At my leanest and bro-tastic diet (sub 10%bf) I still have to be medicated for HBP. I was fat and was on meds for HBP since my mid 20s. When I was put on cholesterol meds in my mid 30s, I lost 50 lbs in hopes of not only being healthy for my kids and seeing them grow up but of getting off the dang meds. Cholesterol is now 'perfectly normal' (I'm not sure Docs really know what that is) and got off of that but as soon as I started lowering the Lisinipril and HCTZ, my BP started climbing inversely. Oh well.

    At least with the experience of getting lean, I learned to love training again and I'm now in control of my health where before I was aimless and completely out of control.

    On whether the discrepancy matters: It doesn't. Just pick a method and stick with it. Consistency is the key, not only method, but time of day. And use averages, not individual numbers. I have an app called HeartWise where you plug in the numbers and it gives Hi's, Low's, avgs, time of day comparisons etc, etc. And will spit them out as an excel spreadsheet (my doc seems to love those).

    Good Luck.
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  6. #6
    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    the size cuff can have an impact on BP. One time at the doc, the girl used a normal cuff on me and the reading was off the chart. She then realized she needed to use the bigger cuff. When taken with the bigger cuff, it was normal again.


    I have a home machine which works nice. It took a little research, but most only go up to 14-15". I got one with a cuff up to 18" which works for me. Although my arms are 18" flexed, you dont flex when taking a measurement....so there is plenty of room left to grow
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  7. #7
    Registered User CFitnessRJ's Avatar
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    If you are measuring on the same arm without much time in between tests then the numbers will be higher like you said. I have noticed in labs in school (we use both) that wrist measurements are not as accurate (this is why you never really see them in a doctors office). Stick with the one for your arm.

    Also, like UndesirableNo1 said, it has to do with genetics. You can't help it. You can thank your parents for that trait haha.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Legbuh's Avatar
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    Well, I did get my bloodwork back and everything is perfect except AST and ALT (no surprise, I've heard that before). HE said lose 25lbs. I said should I do it by stopping lifting and losing muscle too? He said "no!!!" lol.. I do admit I'm overweight, always been a little chunky.

    I went in to see my GP at first because after quitting smoking I started packing on the lbs.. (diet the same or better, and I started running a couple miles 2-3x a week as well).

    Wanted to make sure my thyroid wasn't messed up or something. But, it's good (even cholesterol is excellent). Just AST and ALT are high.

    I asked if it could have been from the long weekend having a few beers and he said no, it wasn't alcohol, it's just from being about 20-30lbs overweight. I do admit, this happened before and I cut down and my levels were normal after that.

    Just stinks as now it's 10x as hard to "cut" without the help from mr Camel.. lol..
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  9. #9
    Registered User JOHN GARGANI's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tobymax123 View Post
    I have an upper-arm BP machine at home, which always gives me about the same reading as the forearm machines in drug stores and supermarkets. But my arms aren't 17".

    The home machines always say to use the left arm, and the supermarket machines are for the left arm, but in the Dr's office I get different readings between the left and right; almost always higher in the left arm.

    Toby: if your arms aren't 17 inches, then whose picture is that in your avatar??? maybe you are measuring COLD...most BBs measure their arms pumped.....


    NOW: at to the BP thingie, let the Doc intervene:

    like many other bodily functions, and our methodology to measure them, it is all RELATIVE: what is more important, MOST of the time, is CHANGE....some people naturally run a little higher in BP, some lower.....

    change is what matters: so, if you are monitoring yourself, the key is to always use the SAME METHOD.....if your Systolic goes down from 130 to 125 on a WRIST machine, well, then, it simply went down...

    it doesn't mean that your EXACT systolic is 125...but it does mean that it dropped......

    keep this in mind if you prefer to monitor your BP...
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  10. #10
    All the way from the UK clive's Avatar
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    I was amused a few years ago when I had my blood pressure tested.
    The doctor had one of those black inflatable things that goes round the upper arm, I remember him looking quite surprised when I took off my sweater,
    I don’t think he was expecting to see an arm my size. Anyway he still went ahead and used the one he had but wasn’t happy with the reading.
    He eventually decided to find a larger one and when he did and redid the test my blood pressure read normal!
    Last edited by clive; 06-06-2012 at 12:51 AM.
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  11. #11
    Registered User tobymax123's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    Toby: if your arms aren't 17 inches, then whose picture is that in your avatar??? maybe you are measuring COLD...most BBs measure their arms pumped.....


    NOW: at to the BP thingie, let the Doc intervene:

    like many other bodily functions, and our methodology to measure them, it is all RELATIVE: what is more important, MOST of the time, is CHANGE....some people naturally run a little higher in BP, some lower.....

    change is what matters: so, if you are monitoring yourself, the key is to always use the SAME METHOD.....if your Systolic goes down from 130 to 125 on a WRIST machine, well, then, it simply went down...

    it doesn't mean that your EXACT systolic is 125...but it does mean that it dropped......

    keep this in mind if you prefer to monitor your BP...
    Well shoot, how can I not rep you for that? Guess that's why I selected that pic for my avi... makes me look swole!

    Excellent comment on the BP too, and my doc reminds me of that... even if my home BP machine is not accurate, at least it tells me if it's going up or down.
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  12. #12
    Registered User Legbuh's Avatar
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    Well, almost a week of testing, pretty consistent reports.

    Arm average is 135/80 and wrist average is 115/75. I have a couple more weeks of BP to store before I go in...

    Having used my wrist monitor for years even as a "baseline" it shows that quitting smoking and starting running (while still lifting 2-3x a week) did absolutely ZERO for my blood pressure (except for when I was smoking.. I used to test after a smoke and it would be, on the wrist monitor, around 145/95.. and I can "feel" when my BP gets up there now).

    Extrapolate that, Doc... lol
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by Legbuh View Post
    Well, almost a week of testing, pretty consistent reports.

    Arm average is 135/80 and wrist average is 115/75. I have a couple more weeks of BP to store before I go in...

    Having used my wrist monitor for years even as a "baseline" it shows that quitting smoking and starting running (while still lifting 2-3x a week) did absolutely ZERO for my blood pressure (except for when I was smoking.. I used to test after a smoke and it would be, on the wrist monitor, around 145/95.. and I can "feel" when my BP gets up there now).

    Extrapolate that, Doc... lol
    Maybe one of the machines is messed up...?...

    Unless you have severe hypertension, I don't think it really means much. My last reading was 84/49. I had the doc ask me if I was a marathoner, lol. Hell no, I hate running. Genetics is likely part of this. 3 cups of coffee daily may be part, who knows.
    Last edited by drudixon; 06-07-2012 at 06:58 AM.
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  14. #14
    Registered User Legbuh's Avatar
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    I don't drink any coffee, soda, or anything with stims (except for White Blood, but I only do 1/3 scoop pre workout.. I can't handle much more, but this is just enough...)

    I also use Purple Wraath, which is stim free.. love the beta alanine tingles.

    I only like to point out that I don't drink coffee or soda as it seems to be pretty much a norm for people these days. Water and the occasional scotch or beer.
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    For a little fun, check your BP right after an upper body workout when you're still pumped.
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    Registered User Legbuh's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tobymax123 View Post
    For a little fun, check your BP right after an upper body workout when you're still pumped.
    I have done this, only with my wrist monitor though. My BP seems to DROP after a workout (well, not RIGHT after, but once I'm done I go upstairs and check it.. normally very low.. like 95/60)
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