12/17/07 #2 - Does increased blood pressure during Migraine increase stroke risk?
I have had migraines for over half of my life. I have never had high blood pressure. The past 3 times I have seen my doctor, I was in the middle of a migraine and my bp was high for me. My normal bp is around 120/70. During 2 of my visits recently, it was around 140/95, and once it was 160/90. The nurse said it was just because I was in pain and it was nothing to worry about. Does this put me at a higher risk for stroke, for my bp to go that high? In the past, I have had really low bp, but this was at the ER, after I had taken medications, usually pain meds. Thanks, Sherry.
Hypertension is a risk factor for stroke. Although what you experience isn't true hypertension, it your levels have been a bit high. The American Heart Association gives this information:
Your blood pressure can change from minute to minute, with changes in posture, exercise or sleeping, but it should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) for an adult. Blood pressure that stays between 120-139/80-89 is considered prehypertension and above this level (140/90 mm Hg or higher) is considered high (hypertension). Your doctor may take several readings over time before deciding whether your blood pressure is high.
Pain often causes an increase in blood pressure. That's another reason to work toward an effective treatment regimen that prevents as many Migraines as possible and treats those you do get as quickly as possible. Blood pressure problems such as you describe are generally not considered a big problem as long as your blood pressure drops back to "normal" when your Migraine ends. It could be beneficial to have your blood pressure checked a few times when you're not in pain to be sure that it's not elevated then. That way, if you do have hypertension, you can be treated and be safer. Please do discuss this with your doctor at your next visit?
Migraine itself presents a slightly increased risk of stroke. For more information, see ___Migraine and Stroke Risk___. This is nothing to panic over, but it's reason enough to talk to your doctor about any modifiable stroke risks you may have.
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert
If you need to find a headache and Migraine specialist, please see our Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special?, before you search.
About Ask the Clinician:
Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.
If you have a question, please click ___HERE___. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. Due to the number of questions submitted, no questions will be answered privately, and questions will be accepted only when submitted via ___THIS FORM___. Please do not submit questions via email, private message, or SharePost comments. Thank you.
Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis.
We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor.