Does High Blood Pressure Lead To Headaches?

This post was most recently updated on July 25th, 2023

Everyone thinks that high blood pressure can cause headaches. You may also be thinking to yourself, “As the heart beats harder, blood pushes against the artery walls, can the skull start to hit?”.

This question is not really correct. The researchers found little evidence for this.

Read on and find out the truth about the link between headaches and blood pressure.


A decade ago, people thought headaches were a sign of high blood pressure. However, later researchers found that there was no link between headaches and high blood pressure. Still, patients and many doctors today believe that blood pressure is high because they have a headache.

Neuroscientist Deborah Friedman notes several reasons for this view:

  • Hypertension may be a phenomenon associated with acute pain.
  • Headaches can be a side effect of some antihypertensive drugs.
  • In contrast, the drug treatment of hypertension can prevent headaches, so reducing the risk of headache in patients being treated.

Why do hypertensive patients have fewer headaches?

Research in Norway has shown that people with high blood pressure may experience fewer headaches. The team studied more than 22,000 adults without headaches, measured at certain times over an 11-year period.

People with systolic blood pressure above 150 actually had a 30% lower risk of migraine. The systolic blood pressure reading is the top blood pressure reading. The researchers concluded with analgesia – the term used to refer to reduced sensitivity to pain – as a possible explanation.

What is malignant hypertension?

Headaches can be one of the symptoms if you have severe high blood pressure or malignant high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure can come on suddenly and affects about 1% of people with high blood pressure.

Malignant hypertension can affect young people, especially African-American men. It can also affect patients with kidney problems and blood poisoning during pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of this disease?

Signs of malignant hypertension include headache, blurred vision, and changes in mental status. You may also experience nausea, weakness, trouble breathing, chest pain, or have a seizure.

Malignant hypertension is a medical emergency. You need to be taken immediately to a hospital, where you will receive intravenous medications to help keep your vital signs (vital signs: pulse, temperature, blood pressure, breathing ) under control.

What should you keep in mind?

The latest studies show that common tension headaches have little or no association with high blood pressure. In fact, you may have very little chance of developing high blood pressure.

As for migraines and high blood pressure, both are common disorders, affecting 10 to 22 percent of adults. Only about 3% of the population has both disorders.

Headache is not a sign of hypertension except in the case of malignant hypertension. The best way is to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

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Written by Dr. Ganga Sapkota
Updated on July 25, 2023

A graduated medical physician with years of experience in the medical field. Working as a full-time physician in Puspanjali Hospital, Chitwan, Nepal.