ANNABELLA BLUESKY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANNABELLA BLUESKY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood pressure measurement of a female patient. The black cuff (centre) around her arm will be inflated until blood flow in the arm stops. This is detected by the stethoscope being held on her arm beneath the cuff. The cuff is then relaxed until the blood flow just resumes, with a measurement (systolic pressure) being taken at this point. The cuff is then relaxed until blood flows smoothly again, when the diastolic pressure is taken. Blood pressure measures the amount of work the heart has to do to pump blood around the body, which is an important indicator of health.
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