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Blood pressure measurement. Man having his blood pressure taken by a general practice (GP) doctor. Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer. The doctor is listening to his blood flow with a stethoscope. The arm cuff is inflated by a pump in the doctor's hand until blood flow stops. Next the cuff is relaxed until some blood flow resumes. The reading on the blood pressure gauge (at left) at this point corresponds to the systolic pressure, which occurs when the heart is beating. The diastolic pressure, when the heart is relaxed, is taken by deflating the cuff until the blood flows smoothly. Blood pressure is a vital check of overall health.
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