BSIP, LA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, LA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Measuring blood pressure. General practice doctor using a stethoscope to listen to blood flow during blood pressure measurement. An upper arm cuff (black) is connected to a gauge (sphygmomanometer, lower left) that displays the pressure. Blood pressure is measured by inflating the cuff until it stops the flow of blood. It is then slowly deflated until normal flow resumes. The patient's blood pressure is 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) can cause heart failure.
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