When you get a hypertension headache, it is your body’s way of telling you that your blood pressure is too high. If hypertension headaches become frequent, they can be a harbinger of something worse.

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, and it affects nearly half of the adult population in the United States. Since there are very few if any symptoms associated with it, most people are unaware that they have it. It is often called ‘the silent killer’ because the condition, if left unchecked, can lead to heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

What is a Hypertension Headache?

Hypertension headaches are quite rare. They usually only occur during a hypertensive crisis. During a crisis, the blood pressure spikes to dangerous levels that cause pressure to build in the cranium. These dangerous headaches should not be ignored as they may lead to stroke. Symptoms of a hypertension headache include:

  • Pain occurs on both sides of your head
  • Intense throbbing pain
  • Physical activity exacerbates the headache
  • Headache usually eases within one hour of blood pressure of the blood pressure

Hypertensive Headache as a Secondary Symptom

Hypertension headaches are often not the full diagnosis. Ultimately, they can be a secondary symptom to other conditions. Severe hypertension headaches can be indicative  of organ failure, certain types of tumors,  or potential stroke. If you have a hypertensive headache that is accompanied by the following symptoms, you should visit a nearby emergency room  as quickly as possible:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating excessively
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Loss of vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling lightheaded

Risk Factors

Some people are more likely to develop hypertension and its associated dangers. There are a number of risk factors for hypertension, including:

  • Family history of hypertension, heart disease or stroke
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Race
  • Tobacco use
  • Too much salt in diet
  • Too little potassium
  • Too much alcohol consumption


Those diagnosed with hypertension run a greater risk for developing other conditions that will kill them. If hypertension is allowed to get out of control, it can lead to the following conditions:

Heart Attack or Stroke

High blood pressure can lead to the arteries becoming thicker, a condition known as atherosclerosis. When arteries thicken or become hardened, it is possible that not enough blood can get through to the heart or the brain. Diminished blood supplies can lead to heart attack, stroke, or similar conditions.


Out of control blood pressure can lead to a build up of blood that can cause the arteries to weaken and bulge. An abnormally large bulge can easily burst leading to potentially fatal internal bleeding or aneurysm.

Heart Failure

When your blood pressure is too high, it makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood properly. If the heart has to work too hard, muscle walls in the chambers can thicken, leading to a condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy, also known as an enlarged heart. When this condition is allowed to continue, it can lead to heart failure. 

Weakened Blood Vessels to the Kidney

When the blood vessels leading to the kidneys are weakened, the kidneys are not able to function properly.

Memory Problems

Ongoing hypertension can lead to the development of memory problems or issues with learning. 


Diminished blood flow to the brain can lead to a condition known as vascular dementia, a condition that can be common following a stroke. It can also lead to other conditions related to your cognitive function. Many of these conditions can appear following a stroke or they can also cause a stroke.   


The key to avoiding hypertension headaches is paying close attention to your health. If you have episodes where your blood pressure spikes, you may want to make the following lifestyle changes:

  • Quit smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Healthy diet
  • Increased exercise

Getting your blood pressure under control might also require the addition of various medications that will serve to help lower your blood pressure. If you suffer from episodes of hypertension headaches, contact us today at Stop Migraines.

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