Wellness Safari: Giraffes May Hold the Biological Keys to Combating Hypertension

Photo Courtesy: Diana Robinson Photography/Getty Images

The average giraffe stands about as tall as a house and weighs nearly as much as a Toyota Camry, so it’s not much of an understatement to say that there’s something outstanding about giraffe anatomy. But these majestic creatures, which are native to Africa’s savannah grasslands, aren’t just unique for being the world’s tallest mammals. Their bodies have evolved a number of other special biological features that help them thrive — but could be deadly to humans and other animals.

One example? For giraffes, having extremely high blood pressure is actually a sign of good health, and low blood pressure could be a life-threatening event. While the reasons why aren’t fully understood yet, scientists have been researching the beneficial aspects of high blood pressure in giraffes and discovering interesting findings that may have future implications for our own health. The biological adaptations that allow giraffes to evade the damaging impacts of high blood pressure are now giving scientists ideas for treating hypertension in humans.