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HeadWay Issue #218 - Hypertension and Migraine
December 21, 2022

In this issue:

Hypertension and Migraine

Thank You!

Say what?! Systolic Nondippers

Hypertension and Migraine

It's a busy time of year, so let's get right to the facts.

What is hypertension? Hypertension is also called high blood pressure. Essentially, there is regularly too much pressure in your arteries, either because your body is pumping too much blood, or your arteries aren't healthy.

Hypertension and Headaches or Migraine? Having high blood pressure at the moment probably won't trigger a headache. If it does, it's very serious, and you need emergency help.< br />
However, migraine patients are more likely to have hypertension, and other cardiovascular problems.

Should I be concerned? Could hypertension in the long term lead to more migraine attacks? Maybe. (Check this study from last month in the Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache.)

However, you could be at higher risk of developing hypertension if you have migraine. So whatever the relationship between the two, we need to take steps to lower our risk.

How can I lower my risk?
  1. Be aware of your current health. Consider having your blood pressure checked every year.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight as much as possible. Some of these other tips will help with that.
  3. Avoid smoking, too much alcohol, sugars and refined grains.
  4. Add in - more vegetables! (This is not a diet program - but these simple tips will lead you in the right direction.)
  5. Get moving. Exercise can be a challenge for migraine patients - but try moving a little more than you did last week. Small improvements make a big difference.
  6. Evaluate your sleep. This is super-important for migraine patients. Quick question - do you wake up feeling refreshed? If not, talk to a sleep specialist.
  7. Evaluate your medications. Many meds taken for migraine can cause issues with blood pressure - too many to list here, including over-the-counter pain relievers. Find ways to lower your medication intake, and talk to your doctor about the risks.
Bonus tips: Regarding medications. Some drugs contain sodium, and it may be possible to switch to a non-sodium version of the same drug, which may lower your risk.

Recently we talked again about sleep and melatonin - check out More on Melatonin for Migraine (and a recipe thrown in).


Another year is coming to a close! I want to thank you all for being a part of this community. Thanks for sharing your tips, questions, and success stories. Thanks for saying thanks! Thanks for sharing this information with others who may benefit. Thanks for what you are doing to fight migraine and headache! And hey - thanks just for being you! Every one of you is important, and we're fighting together for a better quality of life for us all.

May that be true in 2023 - good health to you all!

Say what?! Systolic Nondippers

Are you a systolic nondipper?

The study mentioned above explained that people with high frequency migraine were a little more likely to be systolic nondippers. And no, it has nothing to do with doughnuts and tea.

Your blood pressure dips lower at night when you sleep. But if it dips less than 10% - that person is a systolic (a term referring to blood pressure) nondipper - their blood pressure isn't dipping as it normally should.

This could lead to cardiovascular problems, and could also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

It's a complicated system, but it points once again to the importance of lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease, and especially to pay attention to your sleep.

And while we're on the topic, maybe say "yes" to the tea and "no" to the doughnut, dipped or not. :)

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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