Hypertension is a disease for which there is no cure. If you have it be advised that you have expected too much, borrowed too much trouble from the future, and overstayed your welcome. It is an extremely slow death from which there is no escape. Everyone gets punished somehow. Hypertension is one how. Conversely, it could also be construed as a favor from the universe allowing you to slowly fall asleep, to painlessly and gradually fail until sudden death takes you. A heart attack can be painful and no one wants renal failure.
Renal failure is one of those bright red flashing lights that paralyzes any common sense your doctor may have. Even the thought of a whisper of those words strikes her dumb and useless. The pen comes out. There is a blink of the eyes. The face stops working as if in hyperdrive stasis and then suddenly reactivates in an alternative future dimension. The pen moves. Scripts get written. The doctor breathes. All is right with the world again.
I on the other hand stop breathing because I know the doctor hasn't a clue what is wrong with me or how to fix it and is disinclined to broach the topic. She is also firm in her belief that consulting with another doctor is a sin greater than moronity since this is hypertension — a basic problem of life. I sigh and take the script. Here we go again.
There are a lot of superstitions about hypertension, just like cancer. And, just like cancer, the "cures" are magical and defy explanation: deep measured breathing, losing weight, exercising, following the DASH diet, organic herbs, tinctures, group support.
I think it has to do with being a herd animal in flight mode. When attacked by a perceived predator, a herd of wild animals panics and races to the horizon seized by communal fear. The animals drop logic in favor of brute force, forcing themselves to run.
As they run, members of the community are picked off, falling in the center or along the group perimeter. The fear factor increases and the herd tries, if possible, to run faster shedding any remaining logic in order to focus fully on the goal of losing their attacker. Those closest to the lost ones exhibit disorientation. They stumble more, their eyes move wildly back and forth, they rely on the press of bodies to carry them in the right direction. Subconsciously they calculate their chances of survival and whether or not the statistical finger of fate will select them or their neighbor. Their fear separates them from the herd, makes them an individual. The herd can't help them now. Their attacker is more powerful than the herd.
The survivors sense that death is inevitable and yet keep running anyway. Hypertension is like that. The unknown enemy that keeps you running. The unseen lethal opponent lurking just out of sight with a magic mystical touch that can reach into any part of the herd and select a victim at will. Those who survive are rewarded with adrenaline enhanced maniacal running — grabbing at whatever solution they can get.
Why is there no cure for hypertension? Because it concerns hormones, about which we know little and which are mysterious and complex. Because it concerns the liver about which we really only know that it is essential and that damage is generally irreparable. This is the fear in the doctor's eyes. The common cold no one can cure. A lethal common cold that will kill you no matter what.
The only treatment is prolonging the agony. Slowing down the predator and maybe helping the victim to run faster or to not focus on those dropping next to them. However, in the end, hypertension will get you. It's just a matter of time.