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Blood pressure is one the body's vital signs. It measures the force through which the blood is traveling through your arteries. It is important to know this because it can tell doctors if your blood is traveling too fast or slow and that could be due to build up along the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure is mostly taken by automatic machines today, but you can also take it manually by using a sphygmomanometer or a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope.

The first step to taking blood pressure is to sit down. Next you have to find the brachial pulse, which is located near your elbow. If you straighten out your arm and put your palm up you can probably locate an artery near your elbow. If you put your finger over this you can feel your brachial pulse. This is going to be where you put the stethoscope. Make sure you can find it before you begin because if you cannot find it on one arm it may be easier to find it on the other.

Next you are going to wrap the blood pressure cuff around the arm where you found your brachial pulse. Make sure that the cuff is not inflated when you put it on. Wrap it around your arm tight enough so it stays in place. Next, place the stethoscope under the cuff on the brachial pulse. The cuff's bottom end should be just above where your elbow bends.

Get your hands organized. After a few times practicing you should be able to coordinate everything without a problem. Pump up the cuff to about 200 on the scale. If the pump is not staying inflated make sure the knob is turned closed. Slowly start to deflate the cuff by turning the knob very slowly at an even pace. When you hear a loud pulse beating that indicates the top number or the systolic reading. This is when the heart is contracting. When the beating stops that indicates the bottom number or the diastolic reading. This is when the heart is resting. After this you are done and can deflate the rest of the cuff by turning the knob completely open.

If you do not succeed the first time wait about ten minutes to try on the same arm or try on the other arm. This will ensure acurate results.