Baroreflex Failure: What Does This Mean?

Blood pressure increases and symptoms like flushing, headaches, and dizziness are signs of baroreflex failure. Medication, dietary modifications, and stress management therapy are possible forms of treatment.

Sharp variations in blood pressure are the result of an uncommon disorder called baroreflex failure.

When under stress, exercise, or discomfort, people with baroreflex dysfunction exhibit extremely high blood pressure and an accelerated heart rate. Sweating and headaches are two symptoms that may result from this.

While there are many different types of treatments, stress-reduction techniques and blood pressure and pulse-controlling drugs are commonly used.

What is baroreflex failure?

People with baroreflex failure have abrupt fluctuations in their pulse and blood pressure.

When physically active, in pain, or under stress, people with this illness experience increases in their blood pressure and pulse.

Blood pressure might vary from 170/110 to 280/130 during a surge. During relaxation, extremely low pressure can occasionally happen.

A particular kind of autonomic dysfunction is baroreflex failure. When the nerves that control bodily processes like heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration don't work properly, it can lead to autonomic diseases.

Multiple symptom atrophy, familial dysautonomia, and orthostatic hypotension are other autonomic diseases. Here is more information regarding autonomic problems.

What are the symptoms of baroreflex failure?

Multiple symptoms can be caused by baroreflex dysfunction. Dizziness is frequently caused by blood pressure rises and falls. Additional baroreflex dysfunction symptoms include:
  • headache
  • sweating
  • flushing
  • blurry vision
  • nausea
  • lightheadedness
  • feeling as if your heart is racing
  • weakness
  • heart palpations
Variations in blood pressure might lead to symptoms.

For example, flushing, sweating, and headaches usually accompany blood pressure rises. These could occur if you're in discomfort or during stressful periods of exercise.

Resting can also cause a dramatic reduction in blood pressure.

This may result in symptoms like lightheadedness, weakness, and blurred vision. When combined, these symptoms may give you the impression that you are about to pass out. We refer to this as presyncope.

What causes baroreflex failure?

Usually, baroreflex dysfunction results from injury to the neck's blood pressure-regulating nerves. This isn't usually explained by a known reason. If so, the following factors may be at blame:
  • surgery performed to treat throat cancer
  • radiation therapy administered to the throat
  • stroke
  • a damage to the neurons that sense blood pressure
  • certain brain degenerative diseases
  • Certain genetic disorders that impact the development of blood pressure-sensing neurons
Baroreflex dysfunction may develop gradually over time or suddenly. Surgery and other underlying factors frequently cause the illness to flare up quickly.

Causes like radiation or degenerative diseases frequently result in slower development of baroreflex dysfunction.

Life expectancy

The course of baroreflex failure can change based on several variables, including the patient's general health, the severity of the condition's symptoms, and how well they respond to treatment.

Treatment for the illness is often effective. Both blood pressure control and symptom reduction may benefit from this. Complications from baroreflex failure might still arise, such as:
  • stroke
  • arrhythmia
  • loss of balance and falls
  • heart attack

How is baroreflex failure diagnosed?

Getting a medical practitioner to diagnose baroreflex dysfunction is the first step towards receiving treatment.

They might talk about your symptoms, your family's medical history, and your medical history at your first session. To validate a diagnosis, you could undergo the following tests:
  • a medical examination
  • blood testing to assist in excluding other illnesses
  • blood tests to determine your hormone levels
Additionally, you will be subjected to autonomic testing. These tests find out how your pulse and blood pressure react to different stimuli.

Some of these tests may be performed by medical professionals at a cardiac lab or another type of medical facility. They may request to undergo additional testing over a day or two at home, such as an ambulatory blood pressure test.


Baroreflex failure treatment often consists of many steps. Its main goals are stress reduction, blood pressure control, and heart rate regulation. There are several ways to assist with this.

For baroreflex deficiency, treatment options include:
  • Blood pressure medications: People with baroreflex failure are frequently prescribed drugs by medical practitioners to control their blood pressure. Numerous drugs can control heart rate. The specifics of your symptoms and how severe they are will determine which blood pressure medicine is best for you.
  • Medications to help alleviate symptoms: Certain drugs might lessen the effects of blood pressure dips, including weakness and dizziness.
  • Anxiety medications: Medical practitioners may occasionally recommend medication to relieve anxiety in patients with baroreflex dysfunction. Stress and blood pressure spikes may be lessened as a result.
  • Stress management therapies: Treatments for stress management, such as counselling and therapy, may help reduce stress and blood pressure spikes associated with baroreflex dysfunction.
  • Pacemakers: A pacemaker can help certain patients with baroreflex problems maintain a constant heartbeat. Here is more information regarding pacemakers.


Blood pressure spikes and falls are rare symptoms of baroreflex dysfunction.

People who have this illness may see a rapid drop in blood pressure while at rest, as well as a fast rise in blood pressure with activity, discomfort, and stress.

Along with symptoms including headaches, sweating, dizziness, and weakness, variations in pulse also frequently occur.

Medication and stress reduction therapies are part of the treatment, which focuses on controlling blood pressure, pulse, and stress.


How can I improve my baroreflex?

Exercise training

Do baroreceptors increase BP?

The brain interprets the impulses from the baroreceptors as an increase in blood pressure.

Are baroreceptors in the kidney?

A system within the kidney

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