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Blood pressure news
Rush of blood to the head is a good sign
People often think that blood rushing to their head when they are angry is a sign of high blood pressure. Yet research has shown that the reverse is the case: people with high blood pressure don't have a rush of blood to their brain when they are angry, but people with a healthy blood pressure do.
A study published on the Cardiovascular Ultrasound Journal's website on 3 July 2009 looked at the arteries in the neck that supply the brain with blood (known as the carotid arteries). The US researchers looked at what happened when 30 healthy people and 28 people with high blood pressure became stressed or angry.
They found that healthy people's neck (carotid) arteries became wider and blood flow to the brain increased. This helps the brain to work at its best in stressful situations. In contrast, the neck arteries of people with high blood pressure did not change and stayed the same regardless of the stress or anger felt.
This lack of increased blood flow to the brain may mean that when people with high blood pressure are put under stress they don't have the increased mental and cognitive abilities of their healthy counterparts.
This research also begs the question of whether or not this lack of carotid artery response also increases the risk of a stroke or dementia. For people with coronary artery disease the loss of the ability of the heart's arteries to widen out increases their risk of having a heart attack. Further research is now needed to see if the loss of the brain's arteries' ability to widen increases the risk of having a stroke.
Naqvi TZ, Hyuhn HK. Cerebrovascular mental stress reactivity is impaired in hypertension. Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2009; 7: 32 doi:10.1186/1476-7120-7-32
Topics: Research, High Blood Pressure in the news, High blood pressure