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Suppose a poisonous snake bites you; this will likely cause hypertension, and it will result in your heart rate increasing dramatically.

Because of the high rate of heart beats, your body will make the snake poison circulate throughout the whole body even faster. This will likely bring about death even faster. (definitely 100% disadvantage)

Why do heart beats increase when we are in a state of tension even though it is to our disadvantage?

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    $\begingroup$ Do autonomic nervous system differentiates a snake bite and a dog bite? $\endgroup$ – JM97 Mar 21 '17 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ What research have you done before asking it here? $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Mar 21 '17 at 5:54
  • $\begingroup$ Hypertension and increased heart rate are not necessarily the immediate effect of ANY snake venom. In fact, Captopril is a drug for treatment of high blood pressure, which was derived from the venom of a Brazilian pit viper (see here and here for more information). So it really depends on the snake. Also consider the fact that snake's and potential prey's evolution may not have each other's best interest in mind... $\endgroup$ – Don_S Mar 21 '17 at 6:08
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The heart rate increases due to any acute stress, it is part of the flight or fight response. This is part of the responses that readies the body for rapid extreme effort.

The body is not selective about it, any acute stress causes it. One idea why is that a hormone response is slower than a direct nervous response so the preparing the body needs to happen as fast as possible since it takes longer to complete, compared to an actual identification, decision and movement.

Also remember that only for a small number of snake bites is this counter-productive, for others it does no additional harm but helps get you away from the snake. Snake venoms vary greatly in their effects.

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Because it's a poison so it has to do it's work which is making as much harm as it's possible.

Also, I'm not sure if heart beats faster because of poison or because of how you react for being in danger. If it's because of the danger then it works with all dangers. Of course some situations could be better handled without this adrenaline rush but evolution shaped us to increase adrenaline so in most cases it helps - and the same reactions is visible in other animals.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Please add some references to your answer. $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Apr 10 '17 at 17:08
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It has to do with the fact that blood needs to circulate faster when your body is in stress. Blood pressure tends to rise, and blood tends to pump faster to the brain, to compensate with the stress factor.

Even so, If you are bitten by a poisonous snake, your body has no choice. It is basically programmed to do what it does.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE and thanks for your contribution. Biology.SE is a scientific stack and we therefore ask users to mention their sources, and preferably references to articles in credible journals in their answers to allow other users to background read on the topics covered. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Apr 10 '17 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree that your body has no choice. If you panic as the result of a snake bite (or even just seeing a snake), your body will release adrenaline (& perhaps other hormones?) that causes increased heart rate &c. If you don't panic, it won't - or at least not nearly as much. If you've ever had allergy tests, where adrenaline is injected to counter the allergens, you've experienced the reverse of this: you get the increased heart rate & other physical fight/flight responses, without experiencing the mental state. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Apr 10 '17 at 19:14
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Your heart rate elevation is part of the body's fight or flight response, to essentially prepare your body to either fight the danger or to flee from it. Now, it doesn't matter if a snake is threatening you or you are in a stressful situation, the body reacts to it the same way. This is a basic response in almost all animals. So yes, the increased heart rate does help in getting more blood to your muscles which basically need all the energy they can get in tense situations. It's actually the same mechanism for any sort of stress, including fear (you might have noticed during a horror movie!). So while it is a disadvantage if you get bitten, most of the times it is serving to get you away from the snake ASAP.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response

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  • $\begingroup$ Please add some more details to your answer. $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Jun 19 '17 at 7:01

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