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Grey's Anatomy

What’s a Hypertensive Crisis as Seen on Grey’s Anatomy?

Still a little fuzzy on some of the medical cases from this week's episode of Grey's Anatomy (Season 7, Episode 17; March 24, 2011)? Don't worry — we've got answers, and we're willing to share with the class.

When Henry had to go under knife — Cristina (Sandra Oh)'s scalpel, to be exact — Teddy (Kim Raver) warned Cristina about hypertensive crisis, which is a critical increase in blood pressure which could damage the blood vessels or lead to a stroke. An urgent hypertensive crisis is an increase that is not severe enough to damage one's organs, whereas an emergency hypertensive crisis has the potential to damage organs.

Miranda Bailey (Chanda Wilson)'s patient Clara had type 2 diabetes. As you may already know, diabetes occurs when the body does not handle insulin properly — insulin being what moves glucose (blood sugar) to cells for energy. Therefore, glucose builds up in the blood instead of entering the cells, despite the best insulin-producing efforts of the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed during adulthood, is far more common than type 1, which is usually diagnosed during childhood. When Clara's condition worsened, she entered a hypoglycemic coma — meaning her body had so little glucose that her brain shut down most of her body's functions.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, MedlinePlus


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