Blood under skin on arm after blood pressure was taken?
November 9, 2016 3:18 PM   Subscribe

A nurse took my blood pressure yesterday with a blood pressure cuff, and today I noticed that there are a few faint lines down my upper arm that are made up of tiny bits of blood under my skin -- petechiae, I guess? Is this something to be worried about? I've had my blood pressure taken a million times and this has never ever happened. Should I call the doctor?
posted by trillian to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
This is common if the cuff is too tight.

Either they should use a larger cuff, or they should use your forearm. This adds a certain level of uncertainty into your blood pressure reading, so I've had some push back from nurses. But so does being stressed, or in pain, which is what happens with the regular method.

My veins are very very quiet, so even before I had big arms, they would spend 10-15 minutes squeezing my arm as tight as possible before the error message. I was always annoyed that a normal part of my physical was to cause enough pain to leave a mark.
posted by politikitty at 3:34 PM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's especially likely if your skin happened to fold/wrinkle up there as the cuff tightened. My skin in some places is incredibly resistant to actual blue-green bruising but rubbing or pinching will leave me with those dotty surface bruises. If my purse falls off my shoulder just right, the rub of the straps on my arm will do it.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:05 PM on November 9, 2016

You can get low on Vitamin C and that makes your capillaries break more easily. It is easy to do. Just more citrus, or whatever you like that is higher in that vitamin.
posted by Oyéah at 4:13 PM on November 9, 2016

How old are you?
posted by pintapicasso at 5:44 PM on November 9, 2016

It can happen. If it is an isolated incident, it is nothing to worry about.

If you get more of them in other places or have unusual bruises, then call your doctor.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:18 PM on November 9, 2016

happened to me when i was taking baby aspirin every day
posted by Morpeth at 5:39 AM on November 10, 2016

How old are you?

I'm in my 30s. (I don't like to post really specific details in connection to my username.)
posted by trillian at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2016

I tend to get those, too. I do fine with manual blood pressure cuffs, but the automatic ones like to latch on and never let go, and leave me with lots and lots of red stripes. You're fine! Just an annoying thing that happens when the life is squeezed out of your upper arm.
posted by jhope71 at 11:42 AM on November 10, 2016

This happened to me for the first time at my last physical and I asked the doc about it immediately after; she said it was totally normal.
posted by serelliya at 7:10 PM on November 10, 2016

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