Hypertension Sufferers Have Less Headaches

Armen Hareyan's picture

People who suffer from high blood pressure are less likely to have headaches, including migraine.

The finding comes from Norwegian National Headache Center at Trondheim University Hospital in Trondheim, Norway. It was previously thought that high blood pressure increases the risk for headaches, but this new study says it's not.

Scientists examined data from two large studies conducted one from 1984 to 1986 and the other one from 1995 to 1997. The first study included 77000 people and was aimed at examining the link between blood pressure and diabetes. The second study included 51000 people who were questioned about headache frequency and had blood pressure measured. They were also asked about taking blood pressure drugs that are also used in migraine treatment.


Examined data showed that those with higher systolic blood pressure were 40% less likely to have headaches. Those with higher pulse pressure had 50% lower rates of headaches.

Systolic blood pressure is the highest measure of reading, it's the pressure during heart beats. Pulse pressure is the comparison of systolic and diastolic pressures. It's being accounted as subtraction of diastolic from systolic pressure and shows pressure change during heart beats.

The study gives an idea about how hypertension affects headaches: high blood pressure is because of stiffer blood vessel -> stiffer vessels cause less activated nerve endings -> less sensitive nerve endings mean less headaches.

This study is more useful for scientists rather that general public, because it doesn't give any conclusion about what hypertension or migraine sufferers can do to ease symptoms. The study may help scientists to uncover the nature of headaches and blood pressure, and to develop better treatments for patients.