Blood Pressure Cuff Study

(WTVQ) — Having your blood pressure taken is so commonplace, people scarcely think about how it’s done. But a new study finds that where the cuff is placed can make a critical difference in the reading.

High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. It’s expressed in terms of millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and measured at two different points. The first (top) number, or systolic pressure, is the measure of force as the heart contracts, when the pressure is the highest. The second (lower) number is the diastolic pressure. This is taken between beats, representing pressure while the heart is at rest.

A normal blood pressure reading for an adult is a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80. High blood pressure is a systolic pressure of 140 or higher and/or a diastolic pressure of 90 or higher.

Over time, the extra force associated with high blood pressure can cause the elastic walls of the arteries to stretch. This can lead to the development of tiny tears that develop scars as the area heals. Blood clots can become trapped by the scar tissue and block the artery. In the heart, this can cause a heart attack. In the brain, it causes a stroke. In some cases, a weak spot in an artery can burst under the extra pressure, causing serious bleeding. If this occurs in the brain, it is a hemorrhagic stroke.

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