Half of the adult population of the planet suffers from various forms of headaches, and most people are totally misdiagnosed, according to a report recently released by the World Health Organization.
Affliction, apparently trivial, has disastrous effects on everyday life: lack of workplace concentration, isolation of friends, or deterioration of sexual relations. In 15% of cases, the painful pains disappear only after the third age.
"It is an extremely terrible disease. Only a good specialist can distinguish between the types of headache, "says Professor Constantin Popa, of the Cerebro-Vascular Disease Institute in Bucharest.
According to him, migraine remains the most feared form of headaches, but also the easiest to detect. With a specific spectrum of symptoms such as painful pulses only half the skull, eye redness, and sometimes the appearance of a fallen eyelid, migraine occurs in puberty and persists for several decades. "Women are more prone than men, one in three having migraines from the age when the first menstrual cycle comes to menopause," says Dr Popa.
The causes of this suffering, the specialist explains, are deeply rooted in the genetic material of each individual, so only personalized treatments give fruit. "There are over 400 substances used against migraine because people with similar pathologies respond differently to the same medication. The most effective has been shown to be ergotamine, present as suppositories. Others swear that a simple cup of coffee will ease their migraine episodes, "says doctor Constantin Popa.
headaches, another form of headache, occurs mostly in stressful periods and affects over 70% of the world's population, say World Health Organization. It may take from 30 minutes to a few days, and patients describe it as an "invisible band around the head and neck". The pains are not as strong as migraine, and are easily crossed with drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin.
Under the umbrella of headaches, many more diseases are hidden. Dental infections, otitis, or glaucoma are just some of the diseases that start with pain in the scalp but which, in the absence of a thorough examination, can migrate. "Before asking if they have anything to do, patients should first go to the ophthalmologist, the dentist, etc. Glaucoma, for example, starts with headache due to intraocular tension, but immediately gives up pilocarpine, "says Neurologist Constantin Popa.
Few know that overdose with analgesics, a mistake made by 5% of the world's population suffering from headaches, is also a frequent source of pains.
Neurologists draw attention to the fact that prolonged discomfort betrays more serious things, such as aneurysm or brain tumors, and which, before leaving their mark on health, destroy little by little the quality of life. Intense pains make it harder to concentrate on work, the affected people become easily irritable even with those closest to them, and are no longer so willing to make love to their partner.
Symptoms to be sent to a neurologist:
– If you have more than 3 episodes of headache per week;
– headache that seems to get worse and does not improve with any treatment;
– If you need to take analgesics daily or almost daily for headache;
– If you take more than 2-3 doses of analgesic per week for headache;
– If headache occurs after physical effort, sneezing, coughing, head bending;
– If you know that you have headache, but its character has changed (it hurts otherwise, it changes its location, it hurts more often, more intensely).
"For a more accurate diagnosis, it is important to describe the symptoms and characteristics of the headache as completely as possible – duration, intensity, aggravating factors, etc.
Neurological evaluation may also include CT or cerebral MRI if the physician considers it a central nervous system problem. In addition, the specialist may recommend blood tests, eye examination or even lumbar puncture. ", Adds Dr. Ana Ghiţoiu.
Symptoms requiring emergency neurological assessment:
– Acute, severe pain, suddenly installed;
– Headache associated with neurological signs: paresis, dizziness, sudden lack of balance, numbness and tingling, speech disorders, confusion, visual disturbances;
– Headache that awakens you from sleep;
Headache accompanied by fever, breathlessness, rigid neck or rash;
Severe headache with nausea and vomiting
Headache that occurs immediately after cranial trauma or accident;
– Headache emerged after the age of 55.