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Hypertension Headaches: Knowing Beyond the Basics

Hypertension headaches are one of the tell-tale signs that a person may be suffering from high blood pressure. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic. Except for the occasional headache, a person may not know he or she is hypertensive until it is too late. This is why this condition is often called the “silent killer.” Elevated blood pressure doesn’t necessarily trigger headaches. When hypertension reaches a point where it is causing headaches, it means that the condition has progressed to a point where medical attention is needed immediately. A person’s blood pressure often reaches 200/100 or higher before they experience headaches or any of the symptoms associated with them. If you suspect that your headaches may be caused by hypertension, it is important to consult a doctor immediately.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Hypertension Headaches?

Hypertension is often diagnosed by accident. A patient may see a doctor to consult about a type of headache that is different from what they normally experience, and after a few tests, it is discovered that the patient is indeed hypertensive. A doctor can suspect hypertension as the cause of the headaches depending on how the patient describes the pain, along with the other symptoms the patient feels during episodes of hypertension headaches. Headaches caused by hypertension differ from person to person. Often, it feels like a band wrapped around the head, putting pressure on both the head and face making it feel like the head is about to explode. Others feel the pain at the back of the head, near the neck area. The headaches are typically worse in the morning, although it could happen at any time of the day. Other symptoms that appear alongside the headaches include:

  • A pulsating feeling behind the eyes
  • Dizziness, and in rare cases, blackouts
  • Irregular heartbeats and palpitations
  • Feelings of nervousness
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Fatigue and shortness of breath
  • Frequent urination
  • Leg cramps
  • Vomiting and indigestion

One or more of these symptoms combined with headaches may mean a person is hypertensive. If you are experiencing headaches along with any or all of the symptoms listed above, contact one of our doctors immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment for Hypertension Headaches

Treating the cause can help prevent the symptoms from happening. When a person is diagnosed with hypertension, they are prescribed medications that can help control their blood pressure and prevent symptoms like headaches from occurring. A hypertensive person’s diet is also restricted and exercise is encouraged to keep his or her blood pressure under control, thus keeping headaches at bay. Hypertensive people are also encouraged to engage in relaxing activities to help regulate blood pressure and relieve the symptoms associated with it. In some cases, headaches still occur even if a patient is already being treated with anti-hypertension medications. Mild headaches can often be relieved by over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol, and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). In addition to that, applying a cold compress to the head and sitting or lying down in a dark room can also help relieve more severe headache cases.

Hypertension is treatable and manageable when caught early on. It is important to check one’s blood pressure regularly and to consult a doctor when unusual headache episodes occur, especially if there are other symptoms associated with hypertension headaches.