Does High Blood Pressure Cause Headache?

Headache due to high blood pressure? Is it a serious situation? Does it cause any health problems? What to do for tension headache? Do you need a doctor’s check? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.

Headache due to high blood pressure?

It can be difficult to recognize high blood pressure without using a blood pressure monitor. Many people do not experience symptoms unless their blood pressure is dangerously high. When symptoms of high blood pressure occur, it can also include severe headache , this is a headache condition due to high blood pressure and is also known as tension headache among the people. People who suspect that they have symptoms of high blood pressure should not ignore them.

This article explains when high blood pressure can cause a headache and what additional symptoms might be. It also covers when to seek emergency medical treatment .

Headache due to high blood pressure: Scientific research

Study results provide conflicting evidence as to whether high blood pressure causes headaches, such as:

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Studies supporting the association of headaches with high blood pressure

The Iranian Journal of Neurology claims that high blood pressure headache (aka tension headache ) can typically occur on both sides of the head. Headaches tend to feel like they’re pulsating and are often worsened by physical activity. High blood pressure can cause headaches because it affects the blood-brain barrier, according to the study’s authors.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension , can put excessive pressure on the brain and cause blood to leak from the blood vessels in this organ. This causes edema or swelling because the brain sits inside the skull and has no room to expand. The swelling puts more pressure on the brain and causes symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, weakness, seizures, and blurred vision.

In such cases, if the affected person follows the medical treatment prescribed by their doctor to lower their blood pressure, their symptoms will usually resolve within a few hours.

Conflicting studies on high blood pressure headache

The American Heart Association emphasizes in a study that hypertension-related headaches do not occur unless blood pressure rises to a certain level. It also touches on whether regular headaches affect a person’s overall heart health.

A study in the American Journal of Hypertension observed 1,914 people with hypertension for 30 years and monitored their hypertension-related headache condition. The results showed no link between the occurrence of regular headaches and the likelihood of cardiovascular death.

Therefore, there is no indication that people with regular headaches unrelated to high blood pressure will experience heart problems. Researchers suggest that headaches may signal the need for treatment and make people more likely to take antihypertensive medications as needed.

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Headache due to high blood pressure: Other symptoms

Not everyone with high blood pressure experiences symptoms. In fact, this is exactly why high blood pressure is known as a silent killer.

When blood pressure rises rapidly and severely, typically to readings of 180/120 or higher, this is known as a hypertensive crisis . If a person has dangerously high blood pressure but no other symptoms, the condition is called hypertensive urgency .

Other symptoms that may accompany a hypertension headache, or tension headache, may include:

  • Back pain
  • Difficulty speaking
  • flushing
  • Nose bleeding
  • lethargy or weakness
  • Severe anxiety ( anxiety disorder )
  • Shortness of breath
  • vision changes

Headache due to high blood pressure: Treatments

If people experience high blood pressure headaches as a result of high blood pressure, they should seek immediate medical attention. Without treatment, there is a risk of further organ damage or unwanted side effects.

Doctors classify a headache due to high blood pressure as a hypertensive emergency with other related symptoms. This condition usually requires blood pressure control with intravenous drugs.

Examples of medications for high blood pressure headaches include:

  • Nikardipin
  • Labetalol
  • Nitrogliserin
  • Sodyum nitroprussid

It is important that affected people do not try to lower their blood pressure at home, even if they are on medication. Lowering blood pressure too quickly can affect blood flow to the brain, causing unwanted side effects. Instead, they should go to an emergency room where doctors can help lower their blood pressure in a safe and controlled environment.

Headache due to high blood pressure: Check with the doctor

Without treatment, a high blood pressure headache and an associated hypertensive crisis can cause many serious side effects. Some of the very serious side effects include:

  • chest pain
  • eye damage
  • Heart attack
  • kidney damage
  • excess fluid in the lungs
  • seizures
  • Stroke
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Therefore, it is vital that affected people do not ignore a severe headache and other symptoms related to high blood pressure. A person with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

As a result

In an article in the medical journal , the death rate for people who went to the coronary care unit with a hypertensive emergency was 4.6 percent. Therefore, prompt treatment of headache due to high blood pressure is vital to reduce a person’s symptoms and minimize the risk of side effects.

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