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High Blood Pressure

Can hypertension cause migraine headaches?

03/19/2007

Question:

My husbands`s family has a history of diabetes and heart problems as well as high blood pressure. I know for certain that he has high blood pressure as he takes hydrochlorothiamiazide for it. For the last two days, he has been fighting a severe migraine headache that has caused him to miss a day of work. My question is can hypertension cause migraine headaches and if so, what can we do about it?

Answer:

There are several possible causes of migraine, including genetic factors, vasodilatation in the brain or an overactive sympathetic nervous system.  Hypertension can cause headaches, but not migraines.

Migraines and hypertension are not directly linked, but people can have high blood pressure and get migraine attacks.  In that case, it may be helpful to use medications for hypertension that can also reduce the risk of migraines.  These medications include beta blockers, verapamil and clonidine.

For more information:

Go to the High Blood Pressure health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati