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High Blood Pressure May Be Buffer Against Headaches
Date:4/14/2008

But experts stress that hypertension should still be treated

MONDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- People with high blood pressure are less likely to have headaches than those with normal blood pressure, a new study suggests.

But one headache expert cautions that the new research does not mean those with hypertension should not get treated or stop taking their blood pressure medications.

The stiff arteries that are associated with the high blood pressure -- making people less sensitive to pain -- may be the reason why those with hypertension seem to suffer fewer headaches, including migraines, according to the new research, published in the April 15 issue of Neurology.

At this point, the results are more of scientific interest for researchers than for consumers.

"This is an epidemiological study, and the results cannot be used on an individual level," said study author Dr. Erling Tronvik, a physician with the Norwegian National Headache Center at Trondheim University Hospital in Trondheim, Norway.

"The results may, however, be used to try to explain some mechanisms involved in headache and migraine," he said.

Tronvik's team set out to better understand the relationship between blood pressure and headache. In years past, headache was thought, mistakenly, to be more common among those with high blood pressure. Later research debunked that view.

Tronvik's team used data from two large studies, one conducted from 1984 to 1986 and the other from 1995 to 1997.

The first focused on blood pressure and diabetes, and included data from more than 77,000 people. The second evaluated data from more than 51,000 men and women who had their blood pressure measured and completed a questionnaire on headache. They also gave information on whether they took blood pressure medications, which are sometimes used to treat migraines.

The findings: Those with higher systolic
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