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Is There a High Blood Pressure Headache Connection?

There is a high blood pressure headache link right?  Well, if you believe that then read on – you may be surprised.

Generally, most people believe that one of the symptoms of high blood pressure is a persistent headache.  However there have been a number of studies that contradict this.

Hypertension is known as the “silent killer”, as in the large majority of suffers there are no symptoms to indicate they have elevated blood pressure.

The number of cases of high blood pressure are increasing, with the world-wide number of those with high blood pressure estimated in one study to reach 1.56 billion people by 2025.  This increase has largely been associated with the “western” lifestyle of poor dietary choices and inactivity.

Many people do not have any idea they have high blood pressure until they get their blood pressure measured, and of those that have been diagnosed it is believed that about 50% stop taking their medication.

The link between high blood pressure and headaches has been documented, and it seems to stem from the fact that many people who have high blood pressure also suffer from headaches.  So, the conclusion seems to be that elevated blood pressure increases the chance of having headaches.

However, there have been a number of studies carried out that seem to contradict this theory. 

One example is a study that was carried out by the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.  They surveyed over 22000 adults about the frequency of their headaches and to get a baseline of their blood pressure.  11 years later they surveyed the group again to establish links between blood pressure and headaches.

They found that around 28% of the respondents suffered from repeated headaches. They also found that those with higher blood pressure readings actually had a reduced likelihood of suffering from headaches compared to those with lower blood pressure.

The study went on to identify that those with higher blood pressure and suffered with headaches also experienced less severe headache pain.

So, the results show no link that suggests that headaches are caused by high blood pressure.  In fact, they show that the opposite is true in those surveyed.

Although this study and others do not seem to have swayed the medical community, there are some good reasons that headaches may go hand in had with high blood pressure, even if these reasons are not physiological.

It may be that those that suffer with frequent headaches are more likely to go to the doctor’s surgery for a check up, and so have their blood pressure measured, creating a causal link to be erroneously established.  Most people know that there are proportions of the population whose blood pressure will elevate when it is measured in the doctor’s surgery.  The “white coat” effect on blood pressure is well documented.

Also, those that suffer from more headaches may well share some of the factors that are also indicative of a higher risk of having elevated blood pressure, like being overweight, eating foods high in fat and sodium, having a relatively sedentary lifestyle etc.  So the headaches are perhaps not caused by the high blood pressure, but by the lifestyle choices made by the person.

There may also be a link between those that have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and those that have headaches through the fact that they are more likely to be anxious and concerned about their health by being diagnosed as being hypertensive.

So, the high blood pressure headache link is not as clear we all would like.  However, if a person is having persistent headaches then they should definitely pay a visit to their doctors to identify if there are any factors that may be causing it.  And if it is the lifestyle or dietary choices that are being made, then changing these can help the headaches and reduce blood pressure levels too.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find out about other alternative medicine high blood pressure resources.

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2 Responses to “Is There a High Blood Pressure Headache Connection?”

  1. sarah Says:

    is lisinopril and cozaar good medicines?

  2. paul Says:


    Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor. ACE stands for angiotensin converting Enzyme.

    It’s important that you don’t use this drug while pregnant or if you are planning to become pregnant as it can cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy.

    Avoid alcohol as this can dehyrate you and increase the effectiveness of the drug, causing low blood pressure. Ensure you stay well hydrated if you are prescribed this drug.

    Cozaar is different class of drug - an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. Cozaar stops the blood vessels narrowing, therefore improving the blood flow and lowering high blood pressure as a result. Is is also used to reduce the risk of stroke for people with high blood pressure.

    As with Lisinopril don’t take Cozaar if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant as it can cause birth defects and even death to the fetus. Again alcohol is best avoided.

    hope this helps.


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