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When taking a blood pressure, the operator pumps air into the cuff, enough to cut off flow in the artery. The amount of pressure on the artery is measured on the dial. The pressure is then slowly released. The "systolic" blood pressure is that at which a sound is first heard, and the "diastolic" that at which the sounds are no longer heard . It is expressed as the systolic "over" the diastolic, in this case 120/80.
You can have high blood pressure and not even know it unless you have it taken. Read on to understand more about "the silent killer".

©COPY;1997 HeartPoint     Updated July 1997

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