Blood Pressure 101

Blood Pressure 101

A yearly physical or even just a normal visit to the doctor
can involve having your blood pressure checked. Not everyone understands why or
how important this information can be. Understanding the basics about blood
pressure can lead to making better health decisions. This first piece of
information to learn is that the top number is called systolic pressure and the
bottom number is called diastolic pressure.

When having blood pressure checked, the doctor will put an
inflatable cuff around the upper arm. Then they will use a stethoscope to
listen to the blood moving through the arteries. The doctor will inflate the
cuff which will cause it to tighten around the arm. As the cuff becomes deflated,
the doctor will listen through the stethoscope to determine systolic blood
pressure. When the noise that goes away from the deflation stops, the doctor
can then take the diastolic reading.

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