When I go to the doctor for my yearly checkup, I’ve come to expect certain tests. I know they’re going to weigh me, they’re going to draw some blood, and they’re going to put a weird inflatable cuff on my arm. I’m told this is to check my blood pressure, but for all I know it’s to see how much they can squeeze my arm before I start frowning at the doctor.
And I understand some of these things—they need to know if my weight has changed and find out the cholesterol situation in my blood—but what exactly does the blood pressure cuff do? After they use it, the doctor will usually tell me some numbers that mean nothing to me and then make a note on my chart.