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2.9. HTN = hypertension, high blood pressure

A little tension in life keeps things interesting, but if the pressure increases too much, something (like a blood vessel, or relationship,) might blow up.
A base level of stress improves focus, while too much stress leads to tunnel vision and helplessness. Hypertension in the brain can cause problems with memory and understanding (due to reduced blood flow to brain cells), an aneurysm (localized enlargement of artery), or dementia (from chronic lack of blood flow to the brain).

The sympathetic nervous system dilates pupils so one can see better in a dangerous situation, but long term hypertension will damage blood vessels behind the eyes and lead to vision problems.

Our hearts beat faster and circulate more blood when we're excited, aroused, etc., nothing wrong with that, but if that tension persists, the hardworking left ventricle might grow thick and ineffective, and eventually fail. Damage and inflammation in arteries from high blood pressure can also lead to a heart attack or stroke when there's extra damage/blockage to a vessel and a clot forms.

Blood goes Down There when something fun is about to happen (or in progress), but the narrowed blood vessels from hypertension makes it harder for blood to reach the important cells and help them engorge, lubricate, etc. Sure, reproduction's overrated, but...sadness.

Hypertension even wants your bones. High blood pressure causes the body to eliminate more calcium (since hypertension kills the kidneys as well), which can lead to osteoporosis (bones with pores, brittle bones).

We could continue, but it's too depressing. Metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, end stage renal disease, nonalcoholic end stage liver disease, even cancer due to oxidative stress could all be traced back to high blood pressure. This is the unfortunate, systemic, domino effect that eventually leads to some very fine people showing up in the hospital, getting complete blood counts and metabolic panels done on large vials of their blood drawn daily, and getting heart surgery/dialysis.

So how can we prevent hypertension? It's actually straightforward: diet and exercise. Eat less sodium and fat (e.g. fast food). Eat or drink vegetables & fruit! Walk, run; do taekwondo!


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