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How Is Blood Pressure Measured?

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    Blood pressure measurement. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. The only way to tell whether you have high blood pressure is to perform a quick, painless measurement using a device called a sphygmomanometer. This instrument consists of a gauge and a rubber cuff that's placed around your arm or leg and inflated. The doctor or nurse uses a stethoscope to listen for the appearance and disappearance of sound produced by the pulse in your elbow region. That's how the systolic and diastolic blood pressures are determined.

    Blood Pressure Gauge Photo

    A 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) of a person with high blood pressure. It shows evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH or enlargement of the heart).

    ECG of High Blood Pressure Patient

     

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 30, 2013
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