We’ve all been in a doctor’s office and had a nurse inflate a cuff on our arms. I still have the marks on my arm from the last time I went. Why do they tighten these cuffs around our arms? Well, the simple answer is that it tells them and you how high your blood pressure is.
Imagine that your veins and arteries are water pipes within your body. Your heart is the pump and the organs in your body are the faucets in your house. Now imagine that the pressure in these water pipes somehow was increased. The pressure is so high that the pipes shake when you turn the water on and the water shoots out hard. Eventually, the water pump begins to struggle against the pressure in the pipes and has to try even harder. Now imagine the opposite. Imagine that the pressure in the water pipes is too low. The water pressure is so low that it isn’t able to make it to the faucet in the house, so now you’re thirsty and dehydrated.
This is exactly how your blood pressure works. You need enough blood pressure that the blood gets to all of the organs in your body, but not a large amount because then your heart and blood vessels start to strain. High blood pressure damages blood vessels and increases risk for blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.