DAVID GIFFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID GIFFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of blood pressure measurement. Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure that blood exerts against the walls of the main arteries and is quoted in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Measurements are made when the heart is contracting (the systolic pressure) and during relaxation (the diastolic pressure); results are presented as the systolic over the diastolic pressure. A typical value for a normal, young adult might be 120/80 mmHg. Here, a massive systolic pressure of 240mmHg is displayed on the sphygmomanometer. Abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious medical condition with a variety of underlying causes.
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