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Are Headaches a Sign of High Blood Pressure?

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For many years, worsening or chronic headaches have been associated with high blood pressure. And for the disease dubbed as the “silent” killer, headaches have been as close as you could get to a “symptom” of the condition. Years of observation have noted that hypertensive people are more likely to suffer from severe or frequent headaches, but new research is now challenging this theory. If you do suffer from chronic or worsening headaches, doctors at affordable healthcare in Las Vegas can perform the necessary tests to find out if it is caused by blood pressure levels.

The reason that headaches have been attributed to hypertension for so long is that the condition results in auto regulation of the blood vessels in the tissues under the skull, which is where the majority of headaches originate. Auto regulation causes these blood vessels to constrict, which can cause headaches.

Newer research out of Norway has indicated that this might not be the case, and that people with normal blood pressure may actually suffer worse headaches than those with hypertension. Their studies show people with untreated high blood pressure are half as likely to suffer headaches as those with normal readings. The study found that people with wider pulse pressure and higher systolic pressure were least likely to suffer headaches. Those with controlled blood pressure because of medication were found to have a similar risk to those whose blood pressure was normal.

The findings are not fully understood, but the implication is that high blood pressure does offer a certain degree of protection from headaches. Explanations for this phenomenon have ranged from altering levels of chemicals and hormones in the body to arterial flexibility. Arteries become stiffer as blood pressure elevates, which is why high blood pressure can lead to blood vessel damage. The body’s defenses against headaches may very well be the reason why hypertension is able to mask itself.

Headaches could be a sign of another underlying medical condition, and people who suffer from severe or frequent headaches or migraines are advised to have themselves tested by their doctor. Getting treatment for your blood pressure might not protect you from headaches, but it does outweigh the very serious consequences of having unprotected high blood pressure. Adults are recommended to have their blood pressure tested regularly, because the condition is not associated with any obvious symptoms. Doctors at clinics in Las Vegas can provide you with medication to manage your risk factors.