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Papers of the Week

2021 Apr 03

J Clin Med



Headache Is Associated with Low Systolic Blood Pressure and Psychosocial Problems in German Adolescents: Results from the Population-Based German KiGGS Study.


Córdova M CA, Stausberg D, Wang B, Becker A, Rothenberger A, Herrmann-Lingen C, Meyer T, Staab J
J Clin Med. 2021 Apr 03; 10(7).
PMID: 33916726.


Studies have reported controversial results on the relationship between headache and blood pressure. The aim of this post hoc study was twofold: first, to further investigate this relationship and, second, to assess the impact of psychosocial factors on this association in a population-based study of German children and adolescents. The analysis was conducted on study participants aged between 11 and 17 years ( = 5221, weighted from the total study cohort) from the nationwide German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS). Health-related quality of life was assessed by self- and parent-rated German-language KINDL-R questionnaires (Children's Quality of Life Questionnaire), while mental problems were analyzed using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Our findings confirmed that blood pressure was significantly lower in adolescents reporting episodes of headache than in those without headache (114.0 ± 10.2 mmHg vs. 115.5 ± 11.0 mmHg, < 0.001). Logistic regression models adjusted to sex, age, body mass index, contraceptive use, and serum magnesium concentration demonstrated that headache was significantly associated with self-rated KINDL-R (Exp(B) = 0.96, 95% confidence interval (95% Cl) = 0.96-0.97, < 0.001), parent-rated KINDL-R (Exp(B) = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.96-0.98, < 0.001), as well as self-rated SDQ (Exp(B) = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.07-1.10, < 0.001), and parent-rated SDQ (Exp(B) = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.04-1.06, < 0.001). There was evidence that quality of life and mental problems mediated the effect of blood pressure on headache, as revealed by mediation models. Our results from the nationwide, representative KiGGS survey showed that low blood pressure is a significant predictor of headache, independent of quality of life and mental problems. However, these psychosocial factors may mediate the effect of blood pressure on headache in a still unknown manner.