ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Measuring blood pressure. General practice (GP) doctor using a stethoscope to detect the blood flow in a patient's arm whilst measuring blood pressure from the gauge held in his hand. The cuff around the patient's arm is inflated until it prevents blood in the main artery from flowing, and then is slowly deflated. Two types of reading are taken, the pressure of the beating heart as blood flow resumes (systolic) and the pressure of the heart between pumps when the cuff is completely deflated (diastolic). High blood pressure (hypertension) is common in the middle-aged and elderly, and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
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