LEA PATERSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LEA PATERSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure gauge. Woman holding a sphygmomanometer, an instrument used to measure blood pressure. The cuff (black) is placed on the upper arm of the patient. It is inflated by using the pump in the woman's right hand until blood flow in the arm stops. The cuff is then gradually deflated until pulsing blood flow is heard through a stethoscope (not seen). The reading on the blood pressure gauge (white) at this point is the systolic pressure, which occurs during a heartbeat. The diastolic pressure, when the heart is relaxed, is taken by deflating the cuff until the blood flows smoothly. Blood pressure is an important measure of health.
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