RUTH JENKINSON / MIDIRS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUTH JENKINSON / MIDIRS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure measurement. General practice nurse taking a woman's blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. The nurse is listening to the blood flow with a stethoscope. The arm cuff is inflated by a pump in the nurse's hand until blood flow stops. Next the cuff is relaxed until some blood flow resumes. The reading on the blood pressure gauge (bottom left) at this point is 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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