There’s a possible connection between blood pressure and headaches, but scientists are not sure what it is. While high blood pressure is associated with a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and more, some people also complain of headaches. Researchers have been trying to figure out how blood pressure affects our bodies. Theories range from altered hormones and blood chemicals to the stiffness of our arteries. As the blood pressure increases, the stiffer our arteries become. The stiffness can damage blood vessels.
High blood pressure and headaches are closely linked. A hypertensive crisis occurs when blood pressure spikes to 180/120 mm Hg. This is an emergency because high blood pressure can lead to major complications such as a stroke, kidney damage, and memory loss. In addition, high blood pressure can cause severe headache symptoms. If not treated quickly, hypertension can lead to heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure can also lead to memory loss and other cognitive problems.
While a relationship between high blood pressure and headaches is controversial, a recent study found a link between high blood pressure and migraines. The study looked at 1373 elderly patients who were diagnosed with migraines at some point during their lives. Blood pressure levels were measured, as well as the carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) – both measures of the thickness of the carotid artery. People with migraine also had lower systolic blood pressure than those without headaches. Both measures of IMT increased with decreasing migraine frequency.