How Blood Pressure can Cause Headaches
Blood pressure is one of the three primary vital signs taken every time you visit your doctor. The blood pressure test measures how much pressure is put on your arterial walls when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and when it is at rest (diastolic pressure). The blood pressure value is depicted with the systolic pressure in the numerator and the diastolic in the denominator of a fraction.
Normal blood pressure is different for everybody, but typically falls into an acceptable range of numbers. Both high blood pressure, hypertension, and low blood pressure, hypotension, can lead to headaches.
Your blood pressure may be higher or lower that what is considered normal but still be normal for you. The only way to establish your normal blood pressure is to monitor it frequently over time. Blood pressure that is far outside acceptable norms should be treated right away.
High Blood Pressure may be the result of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea is a special type of TMJ disorder known to cause high blood pressure and other medical problems. See http://www.ihatecpap.com/sleep_apnea_dangers.html for more information about the dangers of sleep apnea.
Many people with hypertension are virtually asymptomatic and only by going to the doctor and having their blood pressure checked do they discover their condition. Headache is just one sign or symptom of underlying hypertension. Unfortunately, it is a symptom of several other medical conditions as well. If you are unsure of your headache’s etiology, you should seek medical attention.
Associated signs and symptoms include:
- Pain surrounds the head in a band
- Pain is worse in the morning, but diminishes as the day goes on
- Heart palpitation
If your headache is new, or feels unusual in any way, that is, different from other headaches you may experience, it is a good idea to see a doctor and at least check your blood pressure.
The opposite of high blood pressure, is low blood pressure, or hypotension. This means your blood pressure is lower than what is considered normal, but it may be normal for you.
These types of headaches are also called orthostatic and occur when changes in the blood pressure of your head occur dramatically. If you bend over and suddenly move upright you may experience a painful headache. Once triggered, it presents itself just like most other headaches.
It is important to diagnose the underlying cause of your hypotension, with testing your doctor may discover one of the following underlying causes:
- Spontaneous intracranial hypotension
- Post-dural puncture (resulting from spinal tap or spinal anesthesia)
- Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) fistula
Other symptoms of intracranial hypotension include:
- Diplopia or double vision
- Blurred vision
Treating your secondary headache due to hypertension or hypotension is simply by treating the underlying cause. Once you get your blood pressure under control, your headaches should disappear. If you suspect your headache is due to either hypertension or hypotension, do not hesitate to seek medical help, even emergency medical help if you think it is necessary or contact iHATEheadaches for more information.