Baroreflex failure is a condition that causes spikes in blood pressure and symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and flushing. Treatments may include medication, dietary changes, and stress management therapies.
Baroreflex failure is a rare condition that leads to sharp changes in blood pressure.
People with baroreflex failure experience severe high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate in response to pain, exercise, or stress. This can lead to symptoms such as headache and sweating.
Treatments can vary but typically involve stress-lowering therapies and medications to help manage blood pressure and pulse.
Baroreflex failure is a condition that causes people to experience rapid changes in blood pressure and pulse.
People with this condition have spikes in blood pressure and pulse during physical exercise, pain, and stress.
During a spike, blood pressure can range between 170/110 and 280/130. Sometimes, very low pressure can occur while at rest.
Baroreflex failure is a type of autonomic disorder. Autonomic disorders are conditions that occur when the nerves that manage body functions such as pulse, blood pressure, and sweating don’t function as they should.
Baroreflex disorder can cause several different symptoms. Often, spikes and drops in blood pressure can lead to dizziness. More symptoms of baroreflex disorder can include:
- feeling as if your heart is racing
- heart palpations
- blurry vision
Symptoms can occur as a result of different blood pressure levels.
For instance, headaches, sweating, and flushing typically occur along with spikes in blood pressure. You might experience these during times of stress while exercising, or if you’re in pain.
A sudden drop in blood pressure can also happen when you rest.
This can cause symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, and blurry vision. Together, these symptoms might make you feel as if you are close to fainting. This is called presyncope.
Baroreflex disorder typically happens because something has damaged the nerves of the neck that control blood pressure. There isn’t always a known cause for this. When there is, causes can include:
- surgery done to treat cancer of the throat
- radiation treatments to the throat
- an injury to the blood pressure-sensing nerves
- certain degenerative brain conditions
- some heredity conditions that affect how blood pressure-sensing nerves develop
Baroreflex disorder can come gradually or all at once. Often, underlying causes such as surgery bring the condition on suddenly.
Causes such as degenerative conditions or radiation often cause baroreflex disorder to develop at a slower rate.
The outcome for baroreflex failure can vary depending on factors such as the underlying cause of the condition, the severity of symptoms, response to treatment, and a person’s overall health.
Often, the condition responds to treatment. This can help with symptom relief and blood pressure management. Baroreflex failure can still lead to complications, including:
The first step to getting treatment for baroreflex disorder is getting a diagnosis from a medical professional.
During an initial appointment, they may discuss your medical history, your family medical history, and your symptoms. You may have testing to confirm a diagnosis, including:
- a physical exam
- blood tests to help rule out other conditions
- bloodwork that checks your hormonal levels
You’ll also have testing called autonomic testing. These tests determine how your blood pressure and pulse respond to various actions.
Healthcare professionals may do some of this testing in a cardiac lab or other medical facility. They might ask to do other testing, such as an ambulatory blood pressure test, over a period of a day or two at home.
Treatment for baroreflex failure often involves multiple parts. It focuses on reducing stress and managing blood pressure and heart rate. Several options can help with this.
Treatment options for baroreflex failure include:
- Blood pressure medications: Healthcare professionals often prescribe medications to manage blood pressure for people with baroreflex failure. Many of these medications can also help manage heart rate. The right blood pressure medication for you will depend on your specific symptoms and their severity.
- Medications to help alleviate symptoms: Some medications can help ease the symptoms of blood pressure drops, such as lightheadedness and weakness.
- Anxiety medications: Sometimes, healthcare professionals prescribe medications to treat anxiety for people with baroreflex disorder. This can reduce stress and blood pressure spikes.
- Stress management therapies: Counseling, therapy, and other stress management treatment therapies may help lower stress and episodes of baroreflex disorder blood pressure spikes.
- Pacemakers: Some people with baroreflex disorders can have a steady heart rate through the use of a pacemaker. You can read more about pacemakers here.
Baroreflex failure is a rare condition that causes spikes and drops in blood pressure.
People with this condition experience sharply rising blood pressure during exercise, pain, and stress, and can experience quickly dropping blood pressure while at rest.
Often, changes in pulse also occur and symptoms such as headaches, sweating, lightheadedness, and weakness are common.
Treatment focuses on managing stress, blood pressure, and pulse and includes medication and stress management therapies.