CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Doctor taking the blood pressure of an overweight man. The instrument being used is a sphygmomanometer (a pressure gauge is partially obscured behind the patient, on the wall). A cuff is inflated around the upper arm until it is tight enough to stop the flow of blood in the main artery. This pressure is recorded as the systolic pressure of the pumping heart. The cuff is then deflated, to give 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). Blood pressure is an important measure of health.
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