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How is blood pressure measured?

In routine circumstances, blood pressure (BP) is measured on the inside of an elbow at the brachial artery, which is the upper arm's major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. A person's BP is recorded in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure (mmHg), for example 120/70.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Blood pressure is measured in mm of mercury (mmHg); the top number (systolic) refers to the force against the wall when the heart is contracting, and the bottom number is the pressure when it relaxes (diastolic). (You can remember it this way; systolic is closer to the sky and diastolic is closer to dirt.)
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
Emilia Klapp
Nutrition & Dietetics

Physicians use two measurements to describe blood pressure. The first measurement (given as the first or higher number in a blood-pressure reading) indicates how the heart is contracting to send blood into the blood vessels. This is called systolic blood pressure.

The second measurement, called diastolic blood pressure, indicates how the heart is relaxing to allow blood to return to the heart. This is given as the second or lower number in a blood-pressure reading.

R M. Firth, MD
Family Medicine
Blood pressure is measured with a simple instrument that has a complicated name: a sphygmomanometer. This instrument usually has an inflatable arm cuff attached to a machine or
gauge that displays the pressure in millimeters
of mercury (mmHg).

A blood pressure measurement is expressed as 2 numbers: systolic “over” diastolic.

Systolic blood pressure--the top number--is the pressure in your arteries when the heart contracts, or beats, pushing blood through the arteries.

Diastolic blood pressure--the bottom number--is the pressure remaining in your arteries when the heart relaxes between beats.

Both of these numbers are important measures of the stress on your artery walls. If either number is too high, you could have hypertension, which is
the medical term for high blood pressure.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Blood pressure is the amount of force your blood is putting on the arteries as it flows through them. Blood pressure is always presented as a fraction. The top number in the fraction is the systolic pressure, the pressure exerted on the artery walls when the heart beats. The bottom number, the diastolic pressure, is the pressure exerted when the heart is at rest, between beats.

Blood pressure is measured with a quick painless test using an instrument called a sphygmomanometer -- that rubber cuff that gets tight on your upper arm as it's inflated.
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Blood pressure is measured with a simple device called a sphygmomanometer. This device usually has an inflatable arm cuff attached to a machine or gauge that displays the pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Blood pressure is expressed as "systolic over diastolic"; for example, "120 over 80" (written as 120/80). Systolic is the pressure when your heart beats, and diastolic is when your heart rests between beats.
Blood pressure is measured as two numbers -- a top number (systolic pressure) and a bottom number (diastolic pressure). Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm. This cuff is pumped up and then let down while listening for the pulse sound. The systolic pressure is the pressure when the heart is beating. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.

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