What is Hypertension Headache and Ways to Identify & Treat It?

What is Hypertension Headache?

Hypertension or high blood pressure afflicts about one fifth of the world’s population. Hypertension, also known as silent killer, continues to develop in a person without the person being aware of it. Hypertension headaches are the headaches which a person experiences when the blood pressure shoots up or if there is any abnormality in the blood pressure. They are an indication that a person needs to monitor their blood pressure. There are other obvious health conditions accompanying the hypertension and can be easily identified.

Hypertension Headache

How to Identify Hypertension Headaches?

  • A person experiences various signs and symptoms along with hypertension, one of which is hypertension headaches.
  • One of the characteristic features of hypertension headache is a feeling of pressure just behind the eye, which may or may not be accompanied by a feeling of dizziness.
  • Patient can also experience palpitations and irregular heartbeat.
  • Other symptoms include fatigue and nervousness.
  • Patient has a frequent urge to urinate.
  • There is restlessness along with shortness of breath.

If a patient has a headache, which is accompanied by a few or all of these signs, then it is an obvious indication that he/she is suffering from hypertension headache. It is very important for patient to be aware of any type of headache which he/she experiences along with other signs of high blood pressure. Such type of headache indicates that something is wrong and it needs medical attention by a doctor. It becomes easier to detect any abnormalities in the blood pressure when the patient also has this indicative hypertension headache. It is important that the patient constantly monitors himself/herself for any signs of other symptoms along with the headache and regularly check their blood pressure. If the blood pressure is at the optimum level, then the patient can lead a healthy and comfortable life without any complications. Therefore it is important to realize and be aware that majority of the patients suffering from hypertension will often have an accompanying headache, which can be mild to severe depending on the health condition of the person. Majority of the patients suffering from hypertension will have headaches in the mornings when compared to other times of the day. Hypertension headache is usually felt in the posterior region of the head and other accompanying factors will depend on the individual’s age along with the status of the hypertension.

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.

Importance of Awareness about Hypertension Headaches:

Individuals suffering from hypertension must be aware that if they are suffering from morning headaches, then it is a signal given by our body that the blood pressure is not in the normal range and should be checked and rectified as soon as possible. If this is not done and measures to control the blood pressure are delayed, then there is a lot of potential for damage to the body, as high blood pressure interferes with the normal activity of many different body parts. Other than the hypertension headaches interfering with the patient’s quality of life, it can cause many other medical problems if left unresolved. Taking pain killers is not the solution. It is very important to arrive at a proper diagnosis to deduce the underlying cause so that treatment can be started to relieve the hypertension headache and blood pressure is brought back to the optimum level. Nowadays, there are many medications available to cure high blood pressure; however, it is also important to make lifestyle changes to enhance the effect.

How to Prevent Hypertension Headaches?

  • In today’s vastly informative and advanced world, it is very much possible to prevent hypertension headaches especially with some lifestyle and dietary changes.
  • One of the major contributors to high blood pressure or hypertension is high intake of table salt. If the salt consumption is decreased or completely eliminated, then the patient can find relief not only from hypertension, but from hypertension headache as well.
  • Another important contributing factor to hypertension as well as hypertension headache is consumption of unsaturated fats, especially which are found in red meat.
  • It is very important that hypertension sufferers should try to reduce their weight and increase their metabolism. If the metabolism is low, then it causes poor circulation which in turn leads to high blood pressure.
  • Stress is an important causative factor of hypertension. So in order to prevent hypertension headaches, one should avoid stress or cut down on stress, as stress is known to increase the frequency of hypertension headaches.
  • With such a vast majority of people suffering from hypertension, hypertension headaches are becoming more and more common. Doctors have to deal with many anxious and stressed patients on a daily basis. In today’s hectic pace of lifestyle, many people are compromising on their quality of life and lifestyle diseases, such as hypertension, are found in each and every household.
  • The secret behind reducing hypertension and hypertension headaches is learning to balance personal and professional life. Managing and juggling both the worlds without taking stress in important to have a normal blood pressure. This will also help in cutting down on the hypertensive headaches.
  • In case of severe attack, medications can be used to help in lowering the blood pressure back to a normal level.

Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent Hypertension Headaches

One should try to prevent hypertension headaches as much as possible, as they can be quite disruptive in day to day activities. There can be various causes, be it psychological or physiological for hypertension headaches; however, the key to preventing and keeping hypertension headaches at bay is to simply keep the blood pressure at an optimal level.

A person should do whatever it takes to keep the blood pressure at normal and this can be easily done by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. Huge leaps have been made in the medicine today for treating hypertension; however, nothing helps in keeping the blood pressure at a normal level than a healthy lifestyle, which in turn will help in alleviating the hypertension headaches.

Complications Related to Hypertension Headaches

It is important to go for regular medical checkups so that you can keep tabs on your blood pressure and by doing this, you will also be able to avoid the complications of hypertension even before they arise. Hypertension is known to develop insidiously without exhibiting any obvious symptoms until it is very late. To avoid learning of this disease just out of the blue and learning the cause of your headaches is hypertension, it is important to visit your doctor if you have persistent headaches, irrespective of their severity.

Many a times, patients do not take their headaches seriously, as hypertension headaches start off as being mild. In some cases, the attack of hypertension and the accompanying headache can be so severe that a person can have a complete blackout; so in order to avoid this from happening, patient should also keep in mind the other symptoms, which accompany a hypertension headache, such as palpitations, irregular heartbeat, leg cramps, retinal hemorrhage and ultimately resulting in heart or kidney failure.

Each patient has different degree of accompanying symptoms of hypertension. So, a medical consultation helps in diagnosing the cause behind the persistent headache.
Persistent headaches are an indication that everything is not right with your blood pressure and that it needs to be checked out immediately to avoid future complications.

Treatment for Hypertension Headaches

Treating the underlying cause, i.e. the hypertension, helps in relieving the hypertension headaches. There are various medicines available for maintaining the blood pressure at a normal level. But more than these medicines, a person can benefit greatly from making a few selective lifestyle changes, which include cutting down on salt intake, red meat consumption, losing weight if the patient is overweight, daily exercise etc…..all these things go a long way in managing blood pressure and relieving hypertension headaches.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 5, 2021

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