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Blood Pressure Test

Blood pressure measurement is important as it is highly related to heart disease risk.

equipment required: Mercury sphygmomanometer, cuff, stethoscope.

procedure: The sphygmomanometer is placed on a bench where the subject cannot see the mercury column. Blood pressure is recorded after the subject has rested quietly for 5 minutes, and this measure should precede all other measures. The subject is seated with the arm resting on the bench, the elbow approximately at the level of the heart. The cuff is attached, the pressure then increased to approximately 180 mm Hg. The stethoscope is placed over the brachial artery in the cubital fossa. The pressure is released at a rate of approximately 2 mm per second. The pressure at which the first sounds are heard (systolic pressure) and the pressure when all sounds disappear (diastolic pressure) are recorded.

blood pressure measurement blood pressure measurement

measurement: Blood pressure is recorded in the units of millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal blood pressure is usually considered to be 120 for systolic and 80 for diastolic pressure - the same for both men and women. Medical treatment should be sought if measurements in the high category are recorded consistently.

< 140
140 - 160
> 160
< 85
85 - 95
> 95
table is based on the Australian National Heart Foundation recommendations

comments: It is common for blood pressure to be elevated in stressful conditions (sometimes called 'white coat fever'), and therefore when someone is tested at a doctor's office they may have an unusually elevated blood pressure. When this is suspected, the test should be repeated after they have been given a time to rest, or in another less stressful place.

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