Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Headaches and High Blood Pressure

Frequent headaches can be an indication of very high blood pressure, but more often a headache has nothing to do with your high blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension isn't called "the silent killer" for no reason. There are no symptoms that you or anybody else would recognize as symptoms of high blood pressure.

If you or someone you love is having a severe headache, blurred vision, and nausea all at the same time, you should without any hesitation, get to a doctor or an emergency room. Those symptoms could indicate a blood pressure that is high enough to cause a heart attack or a stroke, or worse.

However, most people discover that their blood pressure is elevated in one of two ways: (1) they go to their doctor for some other problem and the nurse finds the blood pressure readings high. He or she reports the finding to the doctor, who then reports the finding to the patient; or (2) they wake up in the emergency room after they have had a heart attack or a stroke without having experienced any symptoms at all.

Blood pressure readings that are 140 (systolic) and 90 (diastolic) indicates hypertension or high blood pressure. Just having one blood pressure reading at that level is not an indication that you have high blood pressure. Blood pressure fluctuates all the time. Immediately after you have done strenuous exercise, your blood pressure will be higher. If you are suddenly stressed or frightened, your blood pressure will elevate.

However, several blood pressure readings at various times that are consistently as high as 140/90 or higher do indicate that you have high blood pressure -- with or without a headache. 

It is noted that people with high blood pressure seem to suffer more frequent and severe headaches. The science and physiology behind headaches offers support to this observation, as well – increased blood pressure causes a phenomenon called autoregulation in the blood vessels that run through the tissue underneath the skull (where most headaches start). In other words, the autoregulation leads to constriction of these blood vessels, a very well known cause of headache symptoms.

 If you are being treated for high blood pressure and are suffering from frequent or severe headaches, you should not stop taking your medicines. Rather, you might require a different medicine and should speak with your family doctor.

Sherldine Tomlinson.