Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure almost never causes a headache.  It has to be really high; for example:

  • 120/80     =  average blood pressure
  • 140/90     =  beginning of hypertension
  • 240/140   >>>   might cause a headache (might not)
  • 180/110   >>>   a severe headache may be due to the blood pressure (B/P)
  • 180/110   >>>   mild headache maybe due to B/P if also vomiting, or stroke symptoms

Hypertension usually has no symptoms at all, which is why it’s so dangerous, because after a number of years it causes lots of damage to arteries in the heart (heart attack), brain (stroke), kidneys (kidney failure, needing dialysis), feet (amputation), etc.ย  If there were symptoms, everyone would come for treatment, so as is, it’s easy to ignore.

Most cases are called “essential (or primary) hypertension,” which means nobody knows what causes it.  There may be a family history of it, but maybe not.  However, 1 in 200 hypertensive patients have “secondary” hypertension, meaning it’s caused by another disease.  We look for these other rare causes if a person gets hypertension <30 years-old, or if their blood pressure is very hard to control despite several medications.  If that describes you, ask your healthcare provider if itโ€™s worth looking for these rare diseases causing Secondary Hypertension.

Stress (often called “nervous tension” or “nervous pressure”) causes lots of symptoms, including headache.  But it doesn’t damage arteries, or cause strokes and heart attacks.  Unfortunately, lots of people confuse the words, and don’t take their hypertension medicines because they’re “feeling well.”

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