CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure measurement. Woman having her blood pressure measured using a sphygmomanometer. A stethoscope (not clearly seen) is used to listen to the woman's blood flow. The black arm cuff is inflated by a pump in the doctor's hand until blood flow stops. Next the cuff is relaxed until pulsing blood flow resumes. The reading on the blood pressure gauge (lower right) at this point is the systolic pressure, which occurs during a heartbeat. The diastolic pressure, when the heart is relaxed, is taken by deflating the cuff until the blood flows smoothly. Blood pressure is a vital measure of health.
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