Posted on October 14, 2016
For certain severe or complicated headaches, patients should consult their doctor so that the underlying condition can be accurately diagnosed and treated, says an expert.
 
Red flags prompting an urgent visit to the doctor or emergency department include headache onset after age 50, getting the worst headache of life, a change in typical pattern of headaches, a history of cancer, fever, visual loss, double vision, a change in personality, said Dr Basim Uthman, Vice Chair and Professor of Clinical Neurology and Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q).
 
“If a person experiences a headache for the first time after the age of 50 and if it worsens upon waking up and gets better some minutes later, or if the person experiences a change in the nature of the headache, he should consult a doctor,” he told The Peninsula. Headaches can be primary or secondary. If it is secondary, it is caused by another condition. The term secondary is used to distinguish it from the primary headache disorders like migraine, tension-type headache, or cluster headache.
 
Headache can be caused by general medical conditions such as severe hypertension, or by conditions that affect the brain and its coverings. Infections of the head and neck, head trauma, even mild, can often lead to headache. Anything that takes up space inside the head can cause headache, including tumour. Blood vessel problems can also lead to severe headache, said Dr Uthman. Among the primary headaches migraine is a common type which mostly affects women. Its symptoms include a pounding headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and is treated with headache remedies include pain relievers. However, women with migraine are at risk of developing a stroke if they use contraception pills or smoke, says Dr Uthman.
 
To date, there is no specific data regarding headaches in Qatar. However a study on ‘Frequency of headache and migraine in Qatar’ was conducted in 2006 by the Hamad Medical Corporation. The study found that headache disorders constitute a public health problem in Qatar, due to fast urbanisation. It was also found that the incidence of headache and migraine in Qatar is higher than in Western and African countries.
 
source: Gulf Times

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