High blood pressure is a condition where the pressure inside a person’s arteries is higher than it should be. The condition affects one in four adults in the UK, but can be difficult to spot because symptoms are rarely noticeable. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your reading regularly checked, whether by your GP, local pharmacist or using a blood pressure monitor at home. But experiencing a severe headache may be a warning sign of high blood pressure.
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High blood pressure develops slowly over time and can lead to many dangerous health related issues including a stroke and heart attacks.
High blood pressure cannot be cured but if properly managed through key lifestyle changes and medication, risks can be decreased.
Early detection of high blood pressure will ensure the condition is treated earlier. This is why noticing symptoms of the condition is crucial.
High blood pressure can be difficult to recognise without using a blood pressure monitor.
Many people do not experience symptoms unless their blood pressure is dangerously high.
The common symptoms include vision problems, fatigue or confusion and chest pain.
Experiencing a severe headache is a warning sign and shouldn’t be ignored.
What does the science say?
In a study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, secondary headaches and high blood pressure’s link was investigated.
The study was published in the Iranian Journal of Neurology and found that headaches due to high blood pressure typically occur on both sides of the head.
The study noted that the headache pain tends to pulsate and often gets worse with physical activity.
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According to the authors of the study, high blood pressure can cause headaches because it affects the blood-brain barrier.
Hypertension can result in excess pressure on the brain, which can cause blood to leak from the blood vessels in this organ.
This causes edema, or swelling which is problematic cease the brain sits within the skull and has no space to expand.
The swelling places further pressure on the brain and causes symptoms that include a headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, weakness, seizures and blurred vision.
The American Heart Association maintain that people do not usually experience headaches when their blood pressure is high unless it goes above a reading of 180/120.
Researchers have also looked at whether having regular headaches might affect a person’s overall heart health.
Causes of high blood pressure could include age, race, sex, lifestyle, family history and stress.
If you suspect you or someone you know may be at risk of high blood pressure, it’s important to speak with your GP immediately.
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