SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure measurement. Doctor takes the blood pressure of an obese man who suffers from a heart condition. A sphygmomanometer is being used. It consists of a pressure gauge (on the wall) and a cuff which is inflated around the patient's upper arm until it is tight enough to stop blood flow. 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 the difference between these two measurements, in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). Blood pressure is an important measure of heart and bodily health.
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