Recurrent Or Chronic Headaches And Fatigue
Many patients with symptoms of lightheadedness, recurrent or chronic headaches or chronic fatigue are often suffering from inadequate blood flow to the brain that results in inadequate brain oxygen levels.; Many of these patients have been evaluated by their primary care physician, neurologists or cardiologists without any specific diagnosis being made.
These symptoms can also be accompanied by neck stiffness, heartburn, chronic indigestion, abdominal cramping, and frequent urination.; All of these symptoms represent dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system and are frequently treated as individual symptoms.; In essence, many physicians are not seeing the forest because of the trees.; A good review of the autonomic nervous system and some of the symptoms associated with autonomic dysfunction can be found here.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
The symptoms of low blood pressure may include:
These symptoms can occur when doing nothing. They are more likely to occur when changing position, such as standing up or when straining on the toilet.
However, often there are no symptoms and low blood pressure is often only identified as a result of a routine medical examination or during the course of an investigation for some other condition or underling illness.
Low blood pressure may be more serious in elderly people who may have an underlying illness or who may be at risk of a fall.
Check your symptoms with healthdirects Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
Hypertension: The Silent Killer
Blood flows through your blood vessels and the force varies second to second anyway, so why does it matter if blood pressure is high? That is, why is hypertension so dangerous? Hypertension is called the silent killer for two reasons.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, and aneurysms without previous symptoms or warning signs. That is why it is important to know your blood pressure and treat it if you have hypertension.
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How Is Low Blood Pressure Treated
If there is an underlying cause for your low blood pressure, and it is giving you problems, you may need treatment for that underlying cause. But if it isnt causing you problems, treatment wont be needed.
Your doctor may advise you to take precautions to prevent episodes of low blood pressure, such as avoiding dehydration, hot showers or standing up too quickly.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sih
The most common symptom of SIH is a typical headache, located in the back of the head, often with neck pain. It is worse when standing or sitting and improves or goes away within 20-30 minutes of lying down, called orthostatic or postural headache. The pain is often very severe. The next most common variation is a headache that is not present upon awakening but develops in the late morning or afternoon and worsens throughout the day.The location of the headache varies it may be in the front, affect the entire head or be one-sided. It may resemble migraine with sensitivity to light and noise, nausea or vomiting. There is no specific character of the pain, which may be aching, pounding, throbbing, stabbing, or pressure-like, as examples.
Another common feature of the headache is marked worsening with coughing, sneezing, straining , exercise, bending over and sexual activity. Other symptoms include hearing changes , dizziness, impaired concentration, back or chest pain, and double vision. Rarely loss of consciousness, coma, or a Parkinson-like state may occur.
SIH is one cause of New Daily Persistent Headache, which is a headache that starts out of the blue one day and never goes away.
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Why Not Just Fix The Leak
It sounds easy but the site of the leak may be VERY difficult to find. The tests that are most helpful to locate the leak are special MRI images , as well as MR and CT myelography. Even with these techniques, there may be false positive results that are misleading because the abnormality on the image is not really the site of the leak. The most difficult leaks to find and treat are in front of the spinal cord. Directed blood patches and surgery may ultimately be needed.
Deborah I. Friedman, MD, MPH, FAHSDirector, Headache and Facial Pain ProgramProfessor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics and Ophthalmology
Are There Other Symptoms Or Complications
Yes, there are many other symptoms and complications due to effects on the brain and spinal cord. Common symptoms include neck pain, nausea, hearing changes, pain between the shoulder blades, sense of imbalance, arm pain and dizziness. Serious complications are uncommon but do occur.See a more detailed list of symptoms and complicationsHERE.;
The pattern of symptoms is very important in suspecting the diagnosis.Simple pressure measurements at the time of a lumbar puncture are often normal.Brain MRI imaging is recommended in all suspected cases, with findings evident in about 80% of cases. Normal imaging is not uncommon and does NOT rule out the disorder.Spinal imaging may be needed to confirm a leak location for targeted treatment but half of cases have normal imaging.Learn more about diagnosis HERE.It is important to note that the wide range of symptoms and complications similar to other disorders often contributes to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.;
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Do I Have Hypertension
Symptoms or not, you may have high blood pressure. About 1 out of 3 American adults has it, and another 1 out of 3 have prehypertension. Not only that, but 1 out of 5 Americans has hypertension and does not know it.
Risk factors for hypertension include:
Are you among the 150 million Americans with hypertension or pre-hypertension, or among the millions more with risk factors? Do not wait until you develop high blood pressure headaches to find out!
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that everyone over age 30 get screened for hypertension at least once a year. You may get your blood pressure checked whenever you visit your primary care provider or any other doctor or healthcare provider. Many pharmacies offer free blood pressure measuring as well.;
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes as a first line of treatment. Medications may be necessary if those healthy behaviors do not work.
What Are The Causes
Loss of fluid volume due to a spinal CSF leak may arise as a result of medical procedures, such as a spinal tap, epidural injection or spine surgery. Trauma such as a stab wound or an accident may cause a spinal CSF leak.BUT, a spinal CSF leak may also arise spontaneously. These out-of-the-blue cases are the ones that are often not recognized as being due to a spinal CSF leak.Remember that cranial CSF leaks do not cause low pressure headache.;
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What Makes Your Headache Worse
- Tension headaches are not normally aggravated by physical activity but can make you sensitive to bright light or noise.
- As mentioned above, physical activity can be why you get a headache after working out. This can be due to dehydration or the stress and activity triggering a migraine.
- Migraines are known to have a variety of triggers depending on the individual, including stress, hunger, red wine, or dehydration.
How To Raise Blood Pressure
It is not necessary to raise the blood pressure unless low blood pressure is causing concerning symptoms. Anyone who has concerning symptoms should contact a doctor or healthcare professional.
However, some general tips that may also help keep a persons blood pressure within an optimal range include.:
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day may help prevent dehydration. It may also help counteract the effects of some medications that dry the body out or make it use more water, such as diuretics.
Those who experience headaches from low blood pressure as they stand up may want to pay close attention to their movement. Changing positions slowly and gradually may help prevent symptoms.
Anyone who suspects a medicine is causing the symptoms should talk to a doctor about changing their dosage or prescription.
Do not stop taking a medication without direct guidance from a doctor.
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Fever Headache And Low Blood Pressure
- Medical Author: Melinda Ratini, DO
Reviewed on 6/15/2020
Low blood pressure can cause a headache, but not a fever. An infection may cause fever and a headache, but only a very serious infection such as would cause a big drop in the blood pressure. It is very possible, however, to have symptoms that aren’t really related. For example, maybe your blood pressure medicine is making your pressure low, and you also have a virus or infection causing a headache and fever.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
What Is A Low Blood Pressure Headache
A low blood pressure headache can occur when a person’s blood pressure drops to extremely low levels. The pressure of blood is the force that the blood exerts upon the inner walls of the blood vessels. When the pressure is low, it deprives the brain and other vital organs of proper nutrients and oxygen. Deprivation of these vital nutrients and oxygen to the brain is what causes the headache to occur.
Low blood pressure is also known as hypotension. It is preferred over high blood pressure, because studies have shown that people who have lower blood pressure have a reduced risk of developing kidney or heart disease. When the pressure drops too low, however, it can cause serious and long-term damage to vital organs such as the brain, kidneys, heart, lung and liver. Some of the symptoms of a low blood pressure headache include a lightheaded feeling, fainting, dizziness, fatigue and weakness. These symptoms are often worse when a person changes positions, such as standing up from a sitting or lying position.
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What Are High Blood Pressure Headaches
High blood pressure headaches are not only painful and even debilitating. They are a loud message from your body that something is wrong. Your headache may be your first clue that you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Or, it could be a sign that your hypertension is not well controlled.
Whether you have headaches, other hypertension symptoms, or no symptoms at all, high blood pressure is to be taken seriously. It can cause devastating health consequences if uncontrolled, but it can also be treated. You can take steps to lower blood pressure and avoid high blood pressure headaches.
How To Treat A Headache
No matter what the cause, those with a headache seek fast relief. However, if you do have diagnosed high blood pressure and are on medication to treat it, its important to be mindful of which treatment you choose.
Always check the label of your medications and make sure that you wont be doing more harm than good with the way you choose to treat your headache.
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If It Isnt A Blood Pressure Migraine What Is It
Very high blood pressure can cause headache, but it does not have the same origin as migraine. Blood pressure headache is usually associated with a hypertensive crisis, such as hypertensive emergency or urgency. Both of these conditions are characterized; by dangerously high blood pressure which is typically a systolic blood pressure reading that is 220 mm Hg or higher and/or a diastolic BP that is 120 mm Hg or higher. The difference is, a BP emergency results in organ damage while a BP urgency does not leave any discernible evidence of organ damage.
At least one study shows that some people may not experience headaches as a result of high blood pressure. One possible reason for this is hypertension associated hypalgesia, which causes desensitization to stimuli.
It is important that the blood pressure in a patient in hypertensive emergency is reduced as quickly as possible. On the other hand, research suggests that reducing the blood pressure in a patient with hypertensive urgency can be harmful. It is estimated that around 20% of patients in hypertensive urgency experience headache.
Symptoms of a hypertensive headache include:
- Developing; during a hypertensive crisis
- Bilateral location, meaning it tends to occur on both sides of the head
- Pulsating or throbbing quality
- Precipitated or exacerbated by physical activity
- Resolves within one hour after the blood pressure returns to normal
A hypertensive emergency may also include a headache along with other symptoms which include:
Research On The Link Between Migraine And High Blood Pressure
Women are three times more likely than men to have migraine, according to the;Migraine Research Foundation, and for this reason, much of the research on the link between hypertension and migraine has been conducted on women.
According to Dr. Rist, its difficult to untangle the two conditions, and to do so, we need to look at it from so many different angles. It appears that there is a genetic trait linked with both, but some believe its a causal relationship, meaning that either migraine causes high blood pressure or vice versa.
In a study examining the potential causal relationship, published in February 2018 in the journal Cephalalgia, researchers followed nearly 30,000 women for 12 years. They found that, overall, women who had a history of any type of migraine were more likely to have high blood pressure than women who did not have a history of migraine.
In addition, some types of migraine appeared to be correlated with higher rates of hypertension than others. Compared with women with no history of migraine, those who had a history of migraine without aura had a 21 percent increased risk of hypertension twice that of women who had migraine with aura, whose risk was elevated by roughly 10 percent.
A study looking for a genetic explanation, Nature Communications, identified 12 genes that appeared to have an impact on both blood pressure and susceptibility to migraine.
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What Is A Low Pressure Headache
Low pressure headache is a common term that neurologists use for intracranial hypotension. It refers to headache that is caused by low cerebrospinal fluid pressure in the head due to a loss of CSF volume. This loss of CSF volume is most often due to a CSF leak at the level of the spine . CSF leaks in the head do not cause low pressure headache; this is a very common misconception. This underlying cause of headache and other neurologic symptoms can be treated and cured in many cases. This is a diagnosis that is often missed due to low awareness.;
Low Blood Pressure And Headaches
Low blood pressure may cause headaches. However, it is not the most important symptoms of low blood pressure. Headaches are also a symptom of high blood pressure. Moreover, headaches are so common in general population that it might be sometimes very difficult to ascertain that low blood pressure is the cause of headache in a person presenting with both. They both might be present in a person, but not related to each other.
Measuring blood pressure during a headache and also regularly at other times might be helpful in discerning an association between low blood pressure and headaches. A consistent observation of fall in blood pressure during episodes of headache favors hypotension as the cause of headache.
Headaches may also occur in persons with postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. The affected person typically also experiences symptoms like dizziness, fainting, headache, etc. while rising from a lying down or sitting position. The headache in postural hypotension is often associated with positional changes, like bending forwards and arising from squatting, lying down or sitting position.
Headaches due to low blood pressure suggest inadequate perfusion of the brain and its surrounding meninges. Since, the brain itself is not sensitive to pain , headaches are often due to direct or indirect effects of hypoperfusion on the surrounding structures.
Symptomatic low blood pressure requires appropriate therapy after proper evaluation of the condition.
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What Is Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension
In the simplest of terms, SIH is a low-pressure headache. Intracranial hypotension literally means that there is low spinal fluid pressure in the brain. In SIH, there is a leak of spinal fluid from the spine, either in the neck or mid-back area. Spinal fluid bathes the brain, cushioning it from impact against the skull when the head moves. The brain makes spinal fluid continuously, and absorbs it at the same rate, creating a delicate balance that keeps the spinal fluid volume and pressure normal.