Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure (force per unit area) exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels, and constitutes one of the principal vital signs. The pressure of the circulating blood decreases as it moves away from the heart through arteries and capillaries, and toward the heart through veins. When unqualified, the term blood pressure usually refers to brachial arterial pressure: that is, in the major blood vessel of the upper left or right arm that takes blood away from the heart. Blood pressure may, however, sometimes be measured at other sites in the body, for instance at the ankle. The ratio of the blood pressure measured in the main artery at the ankle to the brachial blood pressure gives the Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI).
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