In this blog post, we will dive deep into the definitions, causes and potential treatments for hypertension headaches.
According to the World Health Organisation, 1.13 billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure). Often referred to as the “silent killer,” hypertension often shows no symptoms until it reaches a dangerous level. One of its most common and painful signs is hypertension headache.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the artery walls. Arteries, the body’s major blood vessels, play a pivotal role in the transportation of blood to various parts of the body. Blood pressure is measured and represented by two numbers, the systolic and the diastolic.
Systolic pressure corresponds to the force of blood against artery walls when the heart initiates its contraction phase. In contrast, diastolic pressure represents the force exerted by blood on artery walls during the heart’s rest phase, occurring between beats.
Typically, a healthy blood pressure reading falls within the normal range, denoted as 120/80. Deviations from this range can indicate health issues. Hypotension (low blood pressure) manifests when readings dip below 90/60. On the other hand, hypertension (high blood pressure) is diagnosed when blood pressure consistently registers at or above 140/90. Understanding these numerical values is critical to monitoring and maintaining cardiovascular health.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Symptoms of hypertension can be subtle or even entirely absent in some individuals. However, when symptoms do occur, they can vary widely and may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Nose bleeding
- Flushing of skin
- Chest pain
It’s important to note that these symptoms can overlap with other health conditions or occur independently of high blood pressure. Therefore, diagnosing hypertension requires regular blood pressure monitoring by a healthcare professional. If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, we recommend seeking prompt medical attention to identify the underlying cause and receive suitable treatment.
Hypertension Headache Symptoms
Hypertension headaches often present as intense pressure that’s worse in the morning but gradually improves as the day unfolds, often described as a “hair band” type of pain.
Other symptoms and patterns can include:
- Mood Swings – It’s not just physical. Hypertension headaches can also bring on feelings of depression and general ill well-being.
- Throbbing or Pulsating Pain – The pain associated with these headaches can be throbbing or pulsating, making them distinct from other types of headaches.
- Age-Related Prevalence – While hypertension headaches can affect individuals of any age, they tend to become more prevalent as one gets older.
Beyond the headache itself, individuals might also experience additional symptoms like nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, and even episodes of dizziness.
The precise cause of hypertension headaches remains a puzzle, primarily due to limited research in this domain. Some theories propose that sudden spikes in blood pressure trigger these headaches. However, the exact workings are still not fully understood.
One hypothesis centres around expanding blood vessels in the neck and head. Another suggests that sensitisation of the trigeminal nucleus in the brainstem might play a role in developing hypertension headaches.
Despite the ongoing scientific journey for solid answers, the intricacies of these headaches continue to elude us, underlining the need for further investigation into this highly debilitating condition.
At Home Treatment and Prevention
To effectively manage hypertension and the associated headaches, here are some essential lifestyle changes to consider:
- Quit Smoking and Reduce Alcohol
- Stay Active. Increasing physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and improves blood pressure control.
- Manage Stress through meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises in your daily routine.
- Limit Sodium Intake
- Control Saturated and Trans Fat Consumption
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
For a more detailed explanation of treatment solutions for hypertension headaches, we invite you to watch the video below featuring Bertrand, our clinical director. Bertrand sheds light on practical strategies and treatment options to manage these debilitating headaches better and regain control of your well-being.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions about headaches and migraines!