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Last Updated: Jun 30, 2022

How Are Hypertension And Headaches Related?

Dr. GarimaGeneral Physician • 2 Years Exp.MNAMS (Membership of the National Academy) (Ophthalmology)
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Headaches are extremely common – we all are familiar with mild or persistent throbbing pain. A number of conditions can result in headaches. Some of these include –

  • Fatigue

  • Lack of sleep

  • Stress/tension

  • An underlying condition, like migraine or sinusitis

Recent studies have revealed a lesser-known cause for headaches – hypertension, or what is commonly referred to as high blood pressure.

The Connection between Hypertension and Headaches

Hypertension occurs when the force of the blood circulation in the arteries is elevated – this particular condition can lead to steady pain throughout the head, particularly at the back of the head or in the forehead.

Hypertension-induced headaches usually affect both sides of the head, particularly the temple regions. However, a person may not even realize that the headaches he/she is experiencing are induced by high blood pressure.

Since hypertension is an asymptotic condition, it is often referred to as ‘the silent killer. When blood pressure rises above 180/110, the condition is known as a ‘hypertensive emergency’.

Different Types of Hypertension Leading to Headaches

There are three types of hypertension conditions that are followed by mild to severe headaches:

  • Malignant Hypertension- This refers to a sudden, rapid increase in blood pressure that calls for medical attention. This is more common among young adults and women with pregnancy-induced hypertension.

  • Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension- It is characterized by elevated blood pressure around the brain. Symptoms include vision problems, nausea, shoulder pain, thumping noise in the ears, and severe headaches.

  • Hypertensive Encephalopathy- This is an extreme condition of high blood pressure, which leads to swelling in the brain. A person with this condition experiences severe headache that becomes worse.

Uncontrolled hypertension can be dangerous – headaches induced by such a condition could also become frequent or worsen over time. However, with proper medications and certain lifestyle changes, high blood pressure can be kept under the normal measure. Once your blood pressure normalizes, the headaches will disappear in no time.


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