What Causes High Blood Pressure
HBP is usually the result of some other health problem, but it may also be caused by some medications.
It is difficult to answer in that the causes vary among different people. There are some common causes that may increase your chances of developing HBP.
Listed below are some examples of these common causes:
Family history of HBP
Too much salt in the diet
There are many triggers for HBP, so one common cause alone may cause an individual to develop high blood pressure if they do not have additional risk factors. For example, obesity often leads to hypertension, but it may still not happen in the presence of a healthy diet and regular exercise. You should also keep an eye on your blood pressure in winter as some reports suggest cold weather can raise blood pressure.
Causes Of Sudden Drops In Blood Pressure
A sudden drop of blood pressure is more likely to cause symptoms of hypotension, such as headache, fatigue, and dizziness. Sudden drops in blood pressure may be life-threatening, depending on the cause.
Orthostatic hypotension is a common cause of sudden blood pressure drop that occurs with standing. This can be caused or worsened by dehydration, certain medications , problems with the nervous system , and Parkinsonâs disease.
Does High Blood Pressure Cause Headaches
in the United States. This common condition has little to no symptoms, which means that many people who have high blood pressure dont even know that they have it.
Having high blood pressure is also a strong indicator of increased risk for:
Thats why its important to have your blood pressure checked at least annually by a medical professional.
Theres ongoing medical research into the correlation between high blood pressure and headaches.
The verdict is out on whether high blood pressure can cause headaches. Some studies indicate that theres no connection, while others show strong correlation between the two.
The American Heart Association supports research that claims headaches arent a symptom of high blood pressure, except in the case of hypertensive crisis.
Theres one thing that we do know, however. Very high blood pressure can trigger an event known as malignant hypertension. Malignant hypertension is also referred to as a hypertensive crisis.
During a hypertensive crisis, pressure in the cranium builds as a result of your blood pressure suddenly spiking up to critical levels. The resulting headache feels unlike any other kind of migraine or head pain. Traditional headache treatments such as aspirin are ineffective to relieve the pain.
In addition to a headache, malignant hypertension usually is associated with:
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Tests For Chronic Intracranial Hypertension
A GP may suspect you have intracranial hypertension if you have symptoms of increased pressure on your brain, such as vision problems and headaches.
You may have several different tests to diagnose IH, such as:
- an examination to check functions such as your muscle strength, reflexes and balance. Any problems could be a sign of an issue with your brain or nerves
- an assessment of your eyes and vision
- a CT scan or MRI scan of your brain
- a lumbar puncture, where a needle is inserted into your spine to check for high pressure in the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord
Idiopathic IH may be diagnosed if you have increased pressure on your brain and no other cause can be found.
Migraine Treatment When Cardiovascular Disease Is Present
Unfortunately, any migraine treatment that decreases the width of a blood vessel, even very temporarily, cannot be used in those who have or might have cardiovascular disease. In those who are at increased risk by uncontrolled blood pressure, high cholesterol, or several risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes, obesity, and heredity, these risk factors need to be treated and consideration be given to cardiac testing, such as exercise treadmill or nuclear stress test. It is estimated that triptans , as well as DHE, can narrow heart blood vessels by 18%. While this is a minor narrowing for a person with normal heart vessels, in those with cholesterol build up, it can become significant.
All non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen, now carry a black box label from the US Food and Drug Administration because of their association with increased risk of heart attack. NSAIDs do vary in the amount of risk to the heart, with naproxen the safest. Other NSAIDs vary in their heart risk, mostly seen in those who use them frequently. Using NSAIDs not more than 2 days a week is generally safe in most individuals who have never had a heart attack. Other acute, as-needed medications that may help dial down the migraine pain without causing blood vessel narrowing include metoclopramide, prochloperazine, diphenhydramine, baclofen, acetaminophen, and gabapentin. Trigger point injections and nerve blocks may also be used.
Deborah Tepper, MD
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Hypertension: The Silent Killer
Blood flows through your blood vessels and the force varies second to second anyway, so why does it matter if blood pressure is high? That is, why is hypertension so dangerous? Hypertension is called “the silent killer” for two reasons.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, and aneurysms without previous symptoms or warning signs. That is why it is important to know your blood pressure and treat it if you have hypertension.
What Are High Blood Pressure Headaches
High blood pressure headaches are not only painful and even debilitating. They are a loud message from your body that something is wrong. Your headache may be your first clue that you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Or, it could be a sign that your hypertension is not well controlled.
Whether you have headaches, other hypertension symptoms, or no symptoms at all, high blood pressure is to be taken seriously. It can cause devastating health consequences if uncontrolled, but it can also be treated. You can take steps to lower blood pressure and avoid high blood pressure headaches.
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Blood Pressure And High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries, which are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from your heart towards the rest of your body. Most often, you will receive two numbers.
Systolic blood pressure is the higher number. It reflects the force when your heart is contracting and pushing blood. Diastolic blood pressure is lower. It is the pressure measured at the time when your heart is relaxing between beats.
In Most Cases High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Headaches Or Nosebleeds
- The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches or nosebleeds, except in the case of hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency when blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher. If your blood pressure is unusually high AND you have headache or nosebleed and are feeling unwell, wait five minutes and retest. If your reading remains at 180/120 mm Hg or higher, call 911.
- If you are experiencing severe headaches or nosebleeds and are otherwise unwell, contact your doctor as they could be symptoms of other health conditions.
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Dietary And Lifestyle Changes
- Reduce the consumption of unsaturated fats, especially red meat. These foods contribute to high blood pressure levels.
- Lose weight. Excess weight can increase blood pressure.
- Boost your metabolism. This helps to increase blood circulation and reduce high blood pressure risk.
- Minimize stress. A contributing factor for the development of high blood pressure and increased frequency of hypertension headaches.
Making changes to how you live can be difficult. But by starting with only minor changessuch as losing a pound a week or just being more aware how much salt is in the food you eatyou will be on the right track to making sure your blood pressure is under control.
However, not all aspects of health are within our control and there may be a time when the care of a trained medical professional will be required. There are great anti-hypertensive medications available that do a great job at keeping blood pressure normal.
Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly
Because hypertension usually has no symptoms, everyone should have their blood pressure measured regularly. The American Heart Association recommends that adults with normal blood pressure should have their blood pressure checked at their annual health visits. If you have high blood pressure or if youre concerned about your blood pressure you can check it more often by measuring your blood pressure at home with a digital monitor that incorporates a cuff. Wrist and finger monitors are also available, but none of the devices currently on the market have received approval from the American Heart Association because they may not measure blood pressure accurately.
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Lifestyle Changes That Can Reduce High Blood Pressure And Headaches
- An early morning walk will improve circulation and reduce stress.
- Adding lots of green, leafy vegetables and anti-inflammatory foods to your diet is another way to make sure that your blood pressure stays healthy.
- Potassium and magnesium are essential minerals for anyone looking to be heart-healthy.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Migraine Or Can Migraine Cause High Blood Pressure
Raised blood pressure doesnt usually cause any symptoms, but a hypertensive crisis acute dangerously high blood pressure can have significant symptoms.
Some people do get migraines with high blood pressure, but the link between the two is quite complex. Migraines and high blood pressure can each have the same cause. A person is more likely to have a migraine or high blood pressure when they are ill, stressed, depressed, reacting to food intolerances, doing sudden strenuous exercise, or for lots of other reasons. This means that migraine and high blood pressure may sometimes happen at the same time because they have the same underlying cause.
Blood pressure can be raised when someone is unwell, under stress, or for lots of other reasons, so someone suffering from a migraine an acute episode of pain and other unpleasant symptoms might have elevated blood pressure as a result. People who report having the kind of migraine that comes with an aura people often describe flashing lights and similar symptoms before a migraine are at a slightly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms of this link arent fully understood, but it does mean that people who suffer from migraines should be aware of their risk of cardiovascular disease and manage their other risk factors as well as they can.
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Blood Pressure: How High Is Too High
Systolic blood pressure is the upper number in a blood pressure measurement. It refers to how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart beats. The lower number, diastolic pressure, refers to how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart is resting between beats. A blood pressure of less than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal.
Nearly half of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressuremeaning greater than 130/80 mm Hgaccording to the American Heart Association . When untreated, high blood pressure increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, and other complications by damaging blood vessels throughout your body.
In most cases, high blood pressure does not cause headaches, nosebleeds, or any other symptoms, stresses Salim Virani, MD, professor, sections of cardiology and cardiovascular research, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.
If you are waiting for symptoms to tell you that you have high blood pressure, you have missed the boat, he says. Waiting for symptoms is actually a very big mistake. We need to pick up high blood pressure in the absence of symptoms. This gives doctors the best opportunity to treat high blood pressure and avoid complications.
If you have high blood pressure, you have to take your medicine every day, even if you feel fine. Dont wait for symptoms to take your medication, says Dr. Virani.
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High Blood Pressure And Headaches At The Same Time Without One Causing The Other
There have been numerous other studies trying to find links between other types of headaches and high blood pressures. However, none of them have consistently proven direct links. Here are some interesting findings about the relationship between high blood pressure and migraine headaches.
A study comparing high blood pressure patients with headaches and high blood pressure patients without headaches
Some patients with high blood pressure have headaches and others dont. This study wanted to see if having both high blood pressure and headaches is worse than high blood pressure without headaches. They wanted to see if perhaps headaches associated with high blood pressure meant that those high blood pressure patients had a worse kind of high blood pressure. This study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension in 2016. They followed 1,914 patients for 30 years. They initially marked them as having high blood pressure with headaches and high blood pressure without headaches. At the end of the 30 years, they tracked those patients and found out that 580 of them died from a heart attack and 97 of them died from a stroke.
A study comparing the blood pressures of patients visiting the emergency department with headaches to the blood pressures of patients visiting the emergency department without headaches
A study comparing the association between high blood pressure and migraine headaches in patients visiting the ER in northern Manhattan
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Does High Blood Pressure Cause Headaches And Chest Pain
Its possible that baroreceptor-mediated hypoalgesia, which is caused as the systolic pressure rises, might have a role to making headaches less common in persons whose blood pressure is too high.What about discomfort in the chest?Pain in the chest can be a symptom of a number of different medical conditions, the most common of which are heart attacks and other cardiovascular disorders.
What Should I Do If My Blood Pressure Is High And I Feel Dizzy
A blood pressure reading that is exceedingly high is a warning that a medical emergency exists and calls for quick care. The sensation of fainting and feeling dizzy can be brought on by a variety of circumstances. Talk to your primary care physician if you are concerned about any of these symptoms or any other concerning signs.
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Can Having A Migraine Attack Or Being In Pain Cause High Blood Pressure
As mentioned above, being in pain or stress, or being anxious, can cause blood pressure elevation. If this situation happens on a frequent basis and your blood pressure keeps becoming elevated to the point that it is considered high, you may be in a situation similar to white coat hypertension and should be monitored over the next few years by your health care provider to see if you develop hypertension.
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Treating The Blood Pressure Headache
Blood pressure headaches can be extremely painful. It is important to know how to manage them. Dr. Dalvi offers this advice,
For headaches from high blood pressure consulting with a family physician for appropriate blood pressure medications is essential. High blood pressure should not be left untreated due to the long-term damage it can cause in terms of increased risk of stroke or heart disease. Other organs in the body including kidneys and the retina of the eyes can also be affected. A very high blood pressure requires emergency treatment to avoid catastrophic results. For migraine prevention in addition to beta blockers other medications that are used include seizure medications such as topiramate and valproic acid, which have been found to reduce the severity of migraine headaches as well. For treatment of acute migraine headaches ibuprofen or similar drugs are often used but after consulting with their physician a specific migraine treatment belonging to a category of medications called the triptans can also be used. Sumatriptan is the drug in this category that is most commonly used. Here are some non-pharmacological techniques that help alleviate headaches:
- Make sure you are hydrated by drinking water
- Lay on your back and prop your feet up so that they are above your heart
- Take deep, regular breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Close your eyes and concentrate only on the breathing
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Looking For A List Of Symptoms
If you are looking for a list of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure , you wont find them here. This is because most of the time, there are none.
Myth: People with high blood pressure will experience symptoms, like nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing.
Truth: High blood pressure is a largely symptomless silent killer. If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.
Dizziness Headache High Blood Pressure And Nausea Or Vomiting
- Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Reviewed on 7/13/2021
High blood pressure can occur without associated symptoms but can also be accompanied by dizziness, headache, or other symptoms when it is severely elevated. An extremely high blood pressure is a sign of a medical emergency and warrants immediate attention. Seek immediate medical care if you have markedly high blood pressure with associated symptoms.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
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