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Can Your Blood Pressure Cause a Headache?
Headaches are extremely common, and you may be wondering why you experience them suddenly. Headaches can be caused by a combination of things, including stress, a lack of sleep, medications, the foods you eat, or medical conditions.
Is it possible to get a headache when you experience high or low blood pressure? Here is some information about blood pressure and its relation to headaches.
Can hypertension cause headaches?
If you have hypertension, which is known as high blood pressure, you may believe that your headaches are caused by it. Hypertension is known as a “silent killer,” meaning many people do not realize that they have it in the first place. Most headaches are usually not directly caused by hypertension; however, when they are, it is usually an extreme case.
Usually, when someone experiences high blood pressure alongside a headache, it is a sign of a bigger problem such as a stroke, heart attack, or kidney issue. Headaches in these cases will occur when your blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher, and at these rates, your body is at risk for organ damage.1
However, medical professionals are usually unsure which comes first – the headache or the high blood pressure – and tests will need to be done to determine the patient’s medical condition. It is recommended that if you or a loved one experience a sudden headache alongside high blood pressure to visit a medical professional immediately.2
Some of the signs of hypertension for those who experience symptoms include:3
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
Does low blood pressure cause headaches?
While headaches from blood pressure are generally not caused by low blood pressure, there is a condition called spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) that occurs when the fluid pressure in the skull is lower than normal. These headaches occur when the blood pressure in the head rapidly changes.4
If a headache occurs alongside low blood pressure, sometimes it is caused by medications that make the body rapidly lose liquid. A change in posture may also trigger a headache when your body experiences low blood pressure levels.5 However, it is rare for your blood pressure level changes to give you a headache on its own.
Some signs that you may have low blood pressure include:6
- Blurred vision
- Feeling weak
Ways to Treat a Headache
When you do experience a headache, you can treat it in several ways:7
- Over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Resting in a dark, quiet room
- Putting a compress on your head
- Reducing stress
- Massage therapy
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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Nadel, Jennifer. “Connection Between High Blood Pressure and Headaches.” K Health. 15 November 2022. Accessed 17 February 2023. Link: https://khealth.com/learn/hypertension/high-blood-pressure-headaches/
- “High Blood Pressure and Headaches: Is There a Link?” Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials. 31 May 2022. Accessed 17 February 2023. Link: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/high-blood-pressure-headache/
- “Hypertension: What is it and How to Prevent it.” Saber Healthcare Group. 23 September 2021. Accessed 17 February 2023. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/hypertension-risks-and-prevention
- Weatherspoon, Deborah. Johnson, Jon, ed. “What to know about low blood pressure headaches.” Healthline Media, MedicalNewsToday. 24 February 2021. Accessed 17 February 2022. Link: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/low-blood-pressure-headache
- Yocum, Andrew. "Low Blood Pressure Headache: Symptoms & Causes." K Health. 24 June 2022. Accessed 17 February 2023. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/blood-pressure-headache
- “Low blood pressure (hypotension).” NHS. 9 September 2020. Accessed 17 February 2023. Link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/low-blood-pressure-hypotension/
- “Headaches: Treatment depends on your diagnosis and symptoms.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 10 May 2019. Accessed 17 February 2023. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-daily-headaches/in-depth/headaches/art-20047375