Blood pressure measurement. Misted image of a young woman having her blood pressure taken. The instrument used is a sphygmomanometer. A cuff is inflated around the patient's upper arm until it is tight enough to stop the flow of blood in the main artery. Slowly deflating the cuff the pressure is recorded as the systolic pressure of the pumping heart; further cuff deflation gives the diastolic pressure of the relaxed heart between pumps. Blood pressure is expressed as a difference between these two measurements, in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). Although blood pressure varies over the day, it is an important measure of bodily health.
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