Wellness

What Do High Blood Pressure Headaches Feel Like?

By Bridget Reed
Medically Reviewed by:

Johannah Gregg, DNP, FNP-C

What Do High Blood Pressure Headaches Feel Like?

June 28, 2024

Have you ever wondered why a headache strikes like a bolt out of the blue? It could be your body waving a red flag that something’s amiss — maybe with your blood pressure.

High blood pressure often moves in silence, but every now and then, it can manifest in the form of a headache. Let’s take a closer look at high blood pressure, including why it might cause headaches.

What's Blood Pressure Anyway?

Blood pressure is a vital sign of your overall heart health

Blood pressure measures the force of this traffic pushing against the road walls as your heart pumps. When measured, it’s expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and noted with two numbers: systolic over diastolic.

Systolic blood pressure captures the pressure when your heart beats, and diastolic pressure gauges it between beats. Keeping these numbers in the ideal range is essential, as prolonged elevation, known as high blood pressure or hypertension, can lead to serious health issues. 

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Did you know that nearly half of adults in the U.S. are dealing with high blood pressure? Yup, it's true — but what causes this common yet serious condition? Hypertension isn’t picky, and several factors contribute to its rise, affecting heart health and blood flow. 

Let’s break down some of the major players.

Lifestyle Choices

Your routine choices play a starring role in your blood pressure levels. A diet high in salt, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking can all push blood pressure upward. Embracing lifestyle changes that include more movement and a balanced diet supports blood vessel health and helps maintain optimal blood pressure readings.

Genetic Factors

Sometimes, the risk of hypertension is passed down in families. If your family history includes high blood pressure, your own risk could be elevated. This doesn’t mean it’s a definite fate, it simply means that being proactive with your health choices is even more crucial.

Health Conditions

Certain health issues like cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, sleep apnea, and diabetes are closely linked to high blood pressure. Managing these medical conditions with the guidance of a healthcare provider can also help control your blood pressure.

Age and Gender

As we age, the risk of developing high blood pressure increases, simply because our blood vessels naturally stiffen over time. Men are often at a higher risk at a younger age, whereas women are more likely to develop hypertension after menopause.

Stress

Chronic stress may not directly cause high blood pressure, but it can lead to habits like poor diet and reduced physical activity, which do. Managing stress through techniques that enhance mental health can support overall wellness, including blood pressure levels.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

Navigating the realm of high blood pressure, often dubbed the "silent killer," can be tricky because it typically travels under the radar with few obvious signs. However, knowing what to watch for can be a game-changer in maintaining your health. 

Let’s explore some of the subtle, and not so subtle, signs and symptoms that high blood pressure might be lurking.

Blurred Vision

High blood pressure can affect the delicate blood vessels in your eyes, leading to blurred vision. This symptom shouldn't be overlooked as it indicates that high blood pressure is starting to impact your organ systems, requiring immediate medical attention.

Chest Pain

Experiencing chest pain can be alarming, and rightly so. It’s a serious symptom that may indicate your heart is working harder than it should, possibly pointing toward heart health issues linked to high blood pressure.

Shortness of Breath

If you find yourself short of breath after minimal exertion or even while resting, it could be a sign that your blood pressure is on the rise. This symptom is particularly important to monitor, as it can also signal heart disease.

Nosebleeds

Although nosebleeds can be common and caused by various factors, frequent episodes might be related to elevated blood pressure, especially if they occur without a clear reason.

Recognizing these warning signs can lead you to seek out a healthcare provider for a thorough check-up. While high blood pressure can lurk quietly, being attentive to these symptoms allows you to take proactive steps towards a healthier lifestyle and potentially avoid the risk factors associated with this condition.

Can High Blood Pressure Cause Headaches?

Wondering if your pounding headache could be a sign of something more, like high blood pressure? It’s a valid question many ask. While high blood pressure doesn’t typically trigger headaches, in cases of hypertensive crisis — when blood pressure readings soar to 180/120 mm Hg or higher — it constitutes a medical emergency. 

These severe headaches happen because the extreme pressure causes your blood vessels to constrict, leading to reduced blood flow, which can cause significant head pain. It's like your body is setting off a siren, warning you that something's not quite right.

Ok, So What Do High Blood Pressure Headaches Feel Like?

Now that we know a hypertension headache can be a serious business, let's get into what these headaches actually feel like, so you’re not left guessing when to take action.

A Pressing Matter Above Your Shoulders

Picture a tight band squeezing around your head; that’s often how a high blood pressure headache feels. They are typically very painful and can feel like a constant, intense throbbing that refuses to go away, primarily affecting the back of your head. These headaches can feel more intense in the morning due to the blood pressure rising overnight.

When To Seek Medical Advice

When your head is throbbing, and you’ve noticed other notorious signs of high blood pressure — like blurred vision or chest pain — it's time to seek medical advice. Consulting a healthcare professional can help prevent more serious complications and keep your health on track.

What Can I Do To Support My Head and Heart Health?

Managing high blood pressure is less about strict rules and more about smart choices that fit into your everyday life. Here's how you can keep both your brain and your heart in top shape:

What's On Your Plate Matters

Switching up your diet to include more fruits, veggies, and whole grains is a transformative way to support your blood vessels and heart. Cutting back on salt and loading up on potassium can make a significant difference. 

“Educating yourself on learning how to read food packaging to realize how my salt and sugar are in your food. Are you aware, for example, how much salt and sugar are in your condiments such as ketchup?” notes Johannah Gregg, DNP, FNP-C.

A Daily Dose of Calm

Our Heart Functional Tea blends natural ingredients like ginger root, fennel seed, and cinnamon bark that support heart health and offer a soothing moment in your busy day. This tea is part of a healthy lifestyle that celebrates taking a break and taking care.

Exercise as a Regular Part of Your Day

Integrating exercise into your routine is about giving your heart the workout it needs to stay strong. Whether you love to dance, hike, or play sports, moving more helps lower high blood pressure and can even ease tension headaches. “Along with movement can you lower your anxiety and stress to enhance easier regulation of your blood pressure throughout your day,” Gregg highlights.

Simple Ways To Unwind

Since stress directly affects blood pressure, why not find ways to unwind that you actually enjoy? Maybe it's reading, gardening, or crafting — whatever helps you relax, make time for it. Lowering your stress can help prevent those stress-induced spikes in blood pressure.

Targeted Support for Your Heart

Adding the right supplements to your diet can offer more than basic benefits. For instance, our Turmeric Complete Plus CoQ10 Capsules provide a thoughtful blend of nutrients, including turmeric, berries, and roots, designed to support healthy heart function. They're a simple addition to your daily routine that packs a significant punch for heart health.

Stay Informed, Stay Healthy

Keeping track of your blood pressure isn't just for doctor visits — it's a part of knowing your body. A quick check at home can tell you when things are off, giving you a chance to adjust your lifestyle or consult with your primary care provider before small issues become big ones.

The Bottom Line

If your head is pounding with what feels like a high blood pressure headache, it's more than just an annoyance — it’s a nudge to tune into your body’s needs. 

Here at Herbaly, we blend the wisdom of nature with solid science to help you thrive. Embrace the Herbaly way of life, where nurturing your health is as natural and easy as a cup of our heart-healthy tea. 

Ready to work toward wellness? Let's make it happen together.

Sources:

What Is Blood Pressure? | Cleveland Clinic

What is High Blood Pressure? | American Heart Association

Health Topics - High Blood Pressure | cdc.gov

Know Your Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure | American Heart Association

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