Why Regular Headaches Should Never Be Ignored

Why Regular Headaches Should Never Be Ignored

As you advance in age, your body changes and becomes frailer. With the increased vulnerability, it is important that you pay close attention to any symptoms that may manifest. A symptom that a teenager can afford to ignore could have serious consequences in an ageing adult. For instance, a numb leg could be an indication of diabetes and a persistent cough could mean you have lung cancer. Even the mildest and seemingly harmless symptom could end up in you lying on a stretcher in the emergency room. 

One of the most ignored symptoms that could indicate a serious underlying problem is a persistent headache. Note that it is not every headache that should be a cause for concern. That said, below is a list of conditions that manifest headache symptoms and that you should pay close attention to with immediate effect.

Brain Cancer

Brain cancer is mostly associated with severe and painful headaches. However, this belief is in more ways than one, flawed. Why? Well, the brain does not have as many nerve endings as other parts of the body including large organs and system. As such, little pain (compared to other body organs and systems), is experienced.

Brain cancer headaches manifest differently. Instead of being an intense pain, it is achy, dull and exerts pressure. A tension grows and increases with time. As the tumor grows and becomes worse with time, the pain may become severe and may even be accompanied by life-threatening seizures, nausea, fatigue and balance or vision impairment and lots of other symptoms. However, it is important to note that these symptoms do not always manifest during the development of brain cancer. It might be silent only to blow up in your face in the last minute. It is important to have regular checkups to avoid being caught unawares.

Catching a brain cancer (or any other type of cancer) early is imperative to its treatment. Studies conducted show that some types of brain cancer for old patients have on average a 70% five-year survival rate. While pain is the most dominant symptom of brain cancer, when you experience painless headaches (the kind described above) you should seek doctor’s advice.

Hemorrhagic stroke

While this condition is rare, headaches can be an indication of a hemorrhagic stroke. This usually begins with some sudden but a painful and severe headache commonly referred to as thunderclap headaches. The stroke is usually as a result of a ruptured blood vessel that weakens over time. Blood then flows into the surrounding brain tissue, compresses it and increases pressure. This pressure causes head pain and several other stroke symptoms.

Now, there are two kinds of hemorrhagic strokes. These are:-

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage

Subarachnoid hemorrhage develops as a result of an aneurysm or vascular malformation. It results in blood vessels bleeding over the brain tissues. This type of hemorrhagic stroke can affect persons of all ages.

Intracerebral hemorrhage, on the other hand, develops as a result of increased blood pressure and blood vessels deteriorating in strength and performance. As such, it mostly affects individuals well advanced in age. Bleeding in this type of hemorrhaging occurs in the brain.

Temporal Arteritis

According to a Canadian Family Physician study, Temporal Arteritis manifests in 3 persons out of every 100,000 persons. Additionally, this condition mostly affects individuals well advanced in age. This disease results in headaches which are caused by arteries around and in the scalp inflaming.

It is characterized by a non-throbbing or deep throbbing pain around the temple. Individuals suffering from this condition will also experience pain when chewing and talking. If you experience headaches coupled with jaw pain, you should go for testing to check for temporal arteritis. In addition to the jaw pain, myalgia, general malaise, fever and weight loss can also manifest.

Given the fact that this disease has the potential to progress to cause strokes, aneurysms, blindness and even death, it is important to seek medical attention fast at the slightest suspicion.

It cannot be stressed enough why you should not ignore persistent headaches. As a symptom, especially in adults and the elderly, they may be an indication that there is an underlying health problem cooking silently. Luckily, with advanced technology in medicine, these illnesses can be effectively managed when caught early.

Visit a doctor if you or your loved one is experiencing persistent headaches.

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