SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure consultation. GP doctor takes the blood pressure of a woman using a sphygmomanometer. This consists of a cuff with pressure gauge which is inflated around the patient's upper arm until it is tight enough to stop blood flow in a 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 then 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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