We had a practical lab today, and we learnt how to take blood pressure in a number of ways, both manually and with machines of various size and ability. It sounds mundane, and plenty of people in all walks of life can do it, but it sure was exciting for me at least to get out my stethoscope and use it on someone else for the first time! It was fairly hard to find the brachial pulse on most people, but I'm sure that with practice that'll become second nature. As part of the lab we are able to take part in a research project organised by the medicine faculty, investigating blood pressure. It's the largest study of it's kind in the world, so it's no small thing. Part of it is to do with changes in how long it takes for our heart to readjust itself after we go from laying down to standing. My blood pressure went below 25mmHg when I stood up...that's really not good. Then I took an anti angina drug and repeated the experiment, and the blood pressure stayed lower for longer, which was what we expected. It gave me a thumping good headache too, because it worked by vasodilation.
On another note, the pharmacology lecturer made us watch this video, because...here's the scary part...it summarises most of the drugs we're going to have to be very familiar with by the end of the year. Fantastic.