Hypertension or high blood pressure, affects about 30% of adults in the United States. The unusual thing about it is that is has little or no symptoms, i.e. many people that have high blood pressure don’t even know that they have it. High blood pressure is also an indicator of an increased risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. This is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked at least annually.
Is there a relationship between hypertension and headaches?
Medical scientists are involved in an ongoing research regarding the correlation between high blood pressure and headaches. The question is whether or not high blood pressure can be proven to cause headaches. Some studies indicate that there is no connection, while others show strong correlation between the two. According to the American Heart Association, headaches are not a symptom of high blood pressure and people with high blood pressure are less likely to have recurring headaches.
However, one thing is certain. Very high blood pressure can cause the so called malignant hypertension, which is also referred to as a hypertensive crisis.
When a patient has a hypertensive crisis, pressure in the cranium builds as a result of the blood pressure suddenly going up to critical levels. The headache that results from this is does not resemble any other kind of migraine or head pain. In this case it is impossible to relieve the pain by traditional treatments such as aspirin. Malignant hypertension is also associated with blurred vision, chest pain, and nausea. This requires immediate doctor’s attention and perhaps hospitalization.
Regardless of the cause of the headache, the people suffering it seek fast relief. It’s important to be cautious as to which treatment you choose if you do have diagnosed high blood pressure and are on medication. The natural ways to treat headaches at home is to include certain foods in your diet such as celery, beets, blueberries and whole grains. Certain essential oils, such as peppermint and lavender, soothe the central nervous system as well. However, white flour should be avoided if you’re having a particularly severe headache and reaching for whole grains instead will balance your blood sugar levels, which has been shown to control migraines.
Drinking too much caffeine is believed to increase the amount of headaches that people have, in addition to elevating the blood pressure. Medicines like aspirin are common headache treatments. Keep in mind though that if you generally have high blood pressure, you should only take aspirin when your blood pressure is currently well-controlled.
High blood pressure is always a cause for concern, however, with a correct diagnosis and treatment it can be managed.
Lifestyle changes that can reduce high blood pressure and headaches
- An early morning walk will improve circulation and reduce stress.
- Adding lots of green, leafy vegetables and anti-inflammatory foods to your diet is another way to make sure that your blood pressure stays healthy.
- Potassium and magnesium are essential minerals for anyone looking to be heart-healthy.