We Are All Snowflakes

The first snow of the season just fell here!

I know, it's cliche to wax philosophical on our uniqueness... but while working on the Echocardiography service the other day, the reality of just how individual we all are hit me. 

I'm interpreting an echo of a patient with longstanding hypertension and marveling at the structural changes the heart has made to accommodate for the high blood pressures, namely the substantial thickening of his left ventricular walls.  If you compare this to an echo of another patient with the same degree and timecourse of hypertension, there may be no change in the thickness of the ventricle.  Why?  They have the same disease for the same period of time, essentially to the same severity.

Why does one person who smokes for 50 years get emphysema while another equally heavy smoker only suffers an occasional cough?  Why does one person form a large, unsightly keloid scar from a forearm abrasion while another person's cut heals into a thin, purple line?

Stress affects our bodies in slightly different ways, some of which we don't even see or fully understand.  The concept, "One man's stress is another man's walk in the park" rings true.  The medical examples above prove that this is not merely a platitude.  The key to stress management, therefore, is individual to you - just as you are a unique person and not like the next.  In our busy lives, we all need to spend more time understanding ourselves, how we react to stressful situations, and what interventions for stress management might work for us.  Stay tuned to learn about some of the possibilities.  It's a worthwhile time investment! 

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