Why High Blood Pressure Causes Headaches
Having chronically high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can cause a wide range of symptoms, including vision problems and headaches. Although the exact cause of hypertension is often not known, doctors believe that the condition is linked to family history, alcohol, salt intake, and the process of aging.
When blood pressure levels become dangerously high, specifically when systolic is measured at 180 or higher or diastolic is at 110 or higher according to the American Heart Association, a hypertensive crisis occurs.
In these extreme conditions, headaches may also be accompanied by shortness of breath, feelings of anxiety, and nosebleeds. Here is why high blood pressure and headaches are connected and what one can do to lower blood pressure for pain relief and other health benefits.
How to Prevent Blood Pressure from Rising
When the body experiences a hypertensive crisis, the blood pressure spikes to very high levels and pressure builds up in the cranium. This causes excruciating headaches that can be much more severe than other types of headaches. It is important to seek medical attention immediately upon feeling blood pressure-related symptoms of headaches, chest pain, blurred vision, or nausea.
To prevent hypertension, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if one is overweight. Doctors also advise patients at risk of hypertension to cut back on salt, eat a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, limit alcohol intake, and exercise regularly. Managing stress in daily life is a key component to preventing blood pressure spikes. It is also wise to monitor blood pressure on a regular basis and make note of any changes.
Lowering Blood Pressure When You Have a Headache
Other actions can be taken to target a blood pressure spike that initially caused the headache to form. It is also important to discuss pain relief medications with a doctor to ensure that they do not interact with high blood pressure medications taken regularly.
To lower your blood pressure while experiencing a headache, try taking deep breaths and stepping away from stressful situations. Knowing one’s stress triggers can help certain situations be avoided, and meditation exercises can be beneficial as well. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided at all times to reduce blood pressure, but especially when experiencing a headache.
Other Benefits of Lowering Your Blood Pressure
In addition to reducing the risk of headaches, there are many benefits to lowering blood pressure through diet and lifestyle changes. Lower blood pressure can help people prevent heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and other serious conditions. A recent study found that there were 26 percent fewer deaths and 38 percent fewer cases of heart failure among patients who reached the systolic pressure target of 120 compared to participants who reached the current target of 140.
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