Many measures in human biology that are studied as immutable traits are actually fluctuating physiological functions that adjust body systems to rapid changes in the environment. This overview discusses what has been learned about the response to the stressors inherent in continuously changing microenvironments in modern Western societies of two related physiological functions: the release of catecholamines and blood pressure. The review shows that many factors that are part of or influence lifestyle—including perception and cognitive state, the nature of the social situation, foods, stimulants and exercise—and external conditions such as temperature, continuously alter catecholamine levels and blood pressure. Because lifestyle stress may be an important selective force in human populations, studies of dynamic functions that react to it, such as catecholamine release and blood pressure, may be important in understanding the ongoing dynamics of human evolution.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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