Dangerous Headaches: Recognizing Warning Signs and Possible Causes

Some headaches can be dangerous conditions that require immediate medical assistance.

Quoting Medline Plus, a headache is defined as a pain or discomfort in and around the head, scalp, or neck. They come in various types, but the most common are tension headaches, migraines, sinus headaches, or headaches due to colds.

Most headaches may occur momentarily and can be relieved with home remedies. However, some headaches can be indicative of more serious illnesses.

This article will highlight the signs of dangerous headaches that require urgent attention.

What are the signs of dangerous headaches?

According to Medline Plus and Medical News Today, some signs of dangerous headaches that need prompt medical attention include the following:

1. Severe and unbearable headache that lasts for seconds to minutes.
2. Headache intensifies with movement or change in position.
3. Headache worsens over 24 hours.
4. Headache causes difficulty in sleeping or wakes you up from sleep.
5. Headache occurs during coughing, sneezing, or straining.
6. Headache does not subside even after treatment.
7. Headache develops after the age of 50.
8. Headache accompanied by fever, chills, night sweats, and unexpected weight loss.
9. Headache with a significantly increased frequency.
10. Constant headache that always occurs in the same location.
11. Headache accompanied by neurological symptoms such as changes in vision, numbness or paralysis on one side of the body, and difficulty speaking normally.
12. Headache with red eyes and eye pain.
13. Headache followed by seizures.
14. Headache in individuals with a history of immunosuppression due to medical conditions like HIV or cancer.

If you experience any of the above signs of dangerous headaches, you need to seek immediate medical assistance.

What are the possible causes of dangerous headaches?

Quoting Medical News Today, dangerous headaches can be caused by serious conditions, such as:

1. Heatstroke: a condition where the body can no longer regulate its internal temperature due to excessive loss of salt and water.
2. Brain tumor: occurs when abnormal cells grow and develop in the brain, which, if malignant, can lead to brain cancer.
3. Carbon monoxide poisoning: carbon monoxide can enter the bloodstream, replacing oxygen, leading to shortness of breath and even death.
4. Carotid artery dissection: occurs when there is a tear in the wall of one of the carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain.
5. Concussion: a brain injury resulting from a hard blow to the head.
6. Hypertensive crisis: occurs when systolic blood pressure is over 180 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure is over 120 mmHg.
7. Meningitis: an infection of the outer lining of the brain.
8. Stroke: occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain.
9. Preeclampsia: high blood pressure during pregnancy that can develop into eclampsia.

To determine the cause, you need to consult a doctor after experiencing signs of dangerous headaches.

By identifying the cause, you can receive appropriate treatment.

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