Can A Migraine Cause High Blood Pressure
During migraine attacks, some people report elevated blood pressure, which may be part of an autonomic response to pain, says Teshamae Monteith, MD, the chief of the headache division at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, who is also on the editorial board of the American Migraine Foundation.
People may not have blood pressure problems between migraine attacks, but when migraine attacks are frequent, blood pressure abnormalities become more concerning, Dr. Monteith says, noting that in such cases, a doctor may prescribe hypertension medications such as beta-blockers to help prevent migraine attacks.
In other cases, headache accompanied by high blood pressure can sometimes be a sign of another underlying condition, says Monteith. This can be particularly true in cases of supine hypertension, in which a persons blood pressure rises when they lie down.
People with sleep apnea may also experience both migraine and hypertension in the morning, and rare conditions such as pheochromocytoma, or tumors in the endocrine system, can also cause high blood pressure alongside intermittent headaches, she says.
Does High Blood Pressure Cause Headaches Or Other Symptoms
Q.My friend insists that she can feel when she has high blood pressure, because her face flushes and she gets a headache. Is this possible?
A. In almost all instances people cannot feel high blood pressure and are unaware that they have it. This is why it is often referred to as a silent killer.
It is usually only when a person is in the midst of what is known as a hypertensive crisis a period of extremely high blood pressure with a reading of 180/120 millimeters of mercury or higher that she or he will experience symptoms, such as a headache. This is considered a medical crisis, and if it occurs, you should call 911 and get emergency help.
However, even in these instances, high blood pressure canât be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. The only way to truly tell if you have elevated blood pressure is to take a reading with a blood pressure cuff.
If your friend is experiencing frequent headaches and other symptoms sheâs attributing to high blood pressure, it might be wise for her to visit her doctor to make sure another condition isnât causing the problem. If she does have uncontrolled high blood pressure, she should also be certain to work with her doctor to manage her condition. Unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to numerous complications, including damage to your arteries, brain, heart, and kidneys.
by Hope Ricciotti, M.D., and Toni Golen, M.D.Editors in Chief, Harvard Womenâs Health Watch
Other Options For Pain Relief
Of course, painkillers aren’t the only answer for many of life’s aches and pains. Many effective and safe alternatives don’t have any side effects at all.
- Ice packs, for acute injuries like a sprained ankle, can keep down swelling and ease pain.
- Heat — with a hot towel or heating pad — can be helpful for treating chronic overuse injuries.
- Physical activity can help reduce some kinds of discomfort, such as arthritis pain.
- Relaxation — with techniques like yoga or meditation — may reduce pain. Biofeedback may help as well. These approaches are best for pain that’s amplified by stress, like tension headaches.
- Nontraditional techniques with low risks — like acupuncture — benefit some people.
So remember: Pain relief doesn’t only come from a pill bottle.
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What To Avoid When You Have High Blood Pressure
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Htn Crisis Without Encephalopathy
Hypertensive crisis is an acute and severe elevation in blood pressure often described as SBP > 180 mmHg, or DBP > 120 mmHg. However, according to the International Headache Classification , the definition is somewhat different . It is discussed in the two subtypes of hypertensive urgency and hypertensive emergency depending on absence or presence of end organ damage, respectively.13 In addition, higher levels of blood pressure are observed in emergent condition. It is estimated that one to two percent of the hypertensive patients experience at least one episode of crisis in their life.14 The majority of patients have a history of established primary or secondary HTN.15
There is a peak of incidence for HTN crisis between the ages of 40 and 50 years.16 It is more common in males and African Americans. Patients with uncontrolled HTN may be at a higher risk of developing a crisis, although data is inadequate in this regard.17
Some disorders and medical conditions are related to hypertensive crisis renal disorders , Cushing’s disease, poor medication compliance, cocaine and PCP abuse, abrupt withdrawal of some antihypertensive agents such as clonidine, and etcetera.18
Hypertensive crisis needs to be promptly treated in order to prevent lethal complications.
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What Triggers Headaches And Migraines
Common triggers of tension headaches or migraines include:
- Stomach upset or abdominal pain.
Cluster headaches are the most severe type of primary headache. Cluster headaches come in a group or cluster, usually in the spring or fall. They occur one to eight times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. The headaches may disappear completely for months or years, only to recur later. The pain of a cluster headache is:
- Intense with a burning or stabbing sensation.
- Located behind one of your eyes or in the eye region, without changing sides.
- Throbbing or constant.
New daily persistent headaches
New daily persistent headaches come on suddenly and last for more than three months. They typically occur in people who werent having frequent headaches before. The pain of NDPH is:
- Constant and persistent without easing up.
- Located on both sides of the head.
- Not responsive to medications.
Sinus headaches are the result of a sinus infection, which causes congestion and inflammation in the sinuses . People, and even healthcare providers, often mistake migraines for sinus headaches. Symptoms of sinus headaches include:
- Bad taste in mouth.
- Pain that gets worse with sudden head movement or straining.
- Mucus discharge .
- More days with headaches than without.
- Pain thats worse in the morning.
Headaches in children
Hypertension Emergency: How To Get Rid Of A High Blood Pressure Headache
Everyone knows what a headache feels like. The pain varies from slightly annoying to debilitating. More than 15% of American adults¹ regularly suffer from severe headaches and migraines.
While its possible to ease some headaches with over-the-counter medications, others, including high blood pressure headaches, require immediate medical attention. High blood pressure headaches must be dealt with quickly to avoid severe complications.
Let’s take a closer look at how to get rid of a high blood pressure headache.
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How Does Hypertension Impact Headaches
It has been noted for decades that some people with high blood pressure may experience more frequent and severe headaches. However, the research is inconsistent.
For example, a research study from Norway suggests that people with high blood pressure may actually have fewer headaches than those with normal blood pressure.
The science and physiology behind headaches help explain why the relationship between blood pressure and headaches isn’t straightforward. Increased blood pressure is associated with narrow blood vessels, which is one of the known causes of headache symptoms. However, dilation of the blood vessels can also cause headaches.
Blood pressure changes also cause a phenomenon called blood vessel autoregulation. This process leads to constriction or dilation of the blood vessels as the body adapts to changes in fluid, hormones, heart rate, and more,
Can A Sinus Headache Be Prevented
- Good handwashing and hygienic practices can help prevent colds and upper respiratory infections.
- Smoking cessation can also decrease your risk of airway infections.
- For people with allergies, avoid allergic triggers to help prevent sinus infections.
- Keep the body well hydrated and humidify the air since these can help promote efficient drainage of fluids from the sinuses.
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High Blood Pressure Headaches And Other Hypertension Symptoms
Your blood pressure headache may be exactly what you might guess based on the feelings of pain and pressure in your head. As it feels like, that headache is the result of too much pressure in your head.
Other hypertension symptoms are also rare. You might not ever get them or you might get one or more of them only when you have a hypertensive crisis, which can be a medical emergency.
- Blood spots in your eyes, or subconjunctival conjunctivitis
- Reddening of the face, or facial flushing, in the heat, cold, or wind, or after eating spicy foods or drinking hot beverages, or at other times.
Since these symptoms can indicate a hypertensive crisis, contact your healthcare provider or get medical care immediately if you have them.
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Talking To Your Doctor About Your Blood Pressure Headaches
If you suspect you have high blood pressure, you need to talk to your doctor to get a formal diagnosis so that you can begin treatment. This is particularly important if you have blood pressure headaches because that can signify a more serious problem. If you are having migraines that also warrants a conversation with your physician because they can help you find a treatment plan.
Some questions to ask your doctor include:
- What can I do when I get a blood pressure headache? When should I seek emergency medical treatment?
- Should I get a home blood pressure monitor? What kind should I get?
- How often should I check my blood pressure?
- How high is too high? Too low?
- What changes should I make to my lifestyle to get better control of my hypertension or migraine?
- What foods can I eat? What should I avoid?
- Can I exercise? How much? What are signs that I should stop?
- What kind of medication are you prescribing to me?
- Will this medication help my headache or make it worse?
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Serious Hypertension Associated Headaches
Some types of hypertension can cause potentially dangerous types of headaches. These situations are medical emergencies that require prompt attention.
Sudden and severe hypertension can occur due to changes in medication dosing, major health events , or drug use. These health issues can cause blood pressure to rise rapidly, with potentially harmful outcomessuch as a heart attack or a cerebral hemorrhage . Sometimes a headache can accompany the extreme rise in blood pressure.
Another type of hypertension, called intracranial hypertension, is different from the type of hypertension that’s measured with a blood pressure cuff. This is high pressure in the skull, and it can occur due to brain disorders, such as brain tumors or meningitis . Intracranial hypertension causes severe head pain, confusion, and it can potentially lead to loss of consciousness.
Who Is Prone To High Blood Pressure
Unsurprisingly, there are some people who are more likely to get high blood pressure than others. There are several risk factors that you should know about. We will go over the main list in just a moment. However, the most popular risk factors include your age, your family history, your race, and your overall lifestyle choice. For some people who suffer from chronic kidney disease, you may be more likely to suffer from high blood pressure.
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Risk Factors Of Hypertension Headaches
- Hypertension headaches tend to occur more in women than men.
- Older individuals who are above the age of 50 are at an increased risk for suffering from hypertension headaches.
- Obesity and physiological conditions, such as pregnancy also increase the risk for hypertension headaches.
- Stress is an important causative factor for hypertension as well as hypertension headaches.
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Pseudoephedrine And High Blood Pressure Interaction
In 2005, a study showed that pseudoephedrine increased systolic blood pressure and heart rate, but had no effect on diastolic blood pressure.1 They also found that higher doses and immediate-release formulations of pseudoephedrine were associated with higher blood pressures.1 In addition, the study revealed that patients with well controlled hypertension had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures after taking immediate release pseudoephedrine formulations.1
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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.
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Medications To Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is best understood as the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries. A person can be diagnosed with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, when their blood pressure is consistently greater than 140/90 mm Hg.
When a persons blood pressure is too high, their hearts need to work harder which can cause serious damage to the arteries. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
Some medications can increase your blood pressure, so its important to be aware of which medications to avoid if your blood pressure is already elevated. If you are unsure of whether a medication might impact your current blood pressure state, your physician or pharmacist are the first resources you should consult. Often, they will be able to recommend an alternative product that will not affect your blood pressure.
Oral Nasal Decongestants
Oral nasal decongestants like Sudafed and Sudafed PE can increase blood pressure by elevating your heart rate and causing blood vessels to narrow, also known as vasoconstriction. Pseudoephedrine and phenylephedrine can also be found in many cold, cough and flu combination products. If you suffer from cold, cough or flu symptoms, try Coricidin HBP products.
Topical Nasal Decongestants
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