JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure. General practice doctor taking the blood pressure of an elderly patient during a home visit. The doctor is using a sphygmomanometer. The cuff on the patient's upper arm is inflated until it is tight enough to stop the flow of blood in the main artery. The pressure is then slowly released by deflating the cuff and, using a stethoscope to listen to the pulse, both systolic pressure (pumping heart) and diastolic pressure (relaxed heart) can be determined. Blood pressure is expressed as a difference between these two measurements, in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). Blood pressure is an important measure of bodily health.
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