JIM VARNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JIM VARNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Measuring blood pressure. General practice (GP) doctor using a stethoscope to detect blood flow in a patient's arm whilst measuring blood pressure from the gauge in his hand. A cuff around the patient's arm (not seen) is inflated until it stops the blood flow in the main artery; it is then 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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