Almost all people suffer from headaches at some point in their lives (headache) and the vast majority will treat them with a simple painkiller.
The good news is, that the 90 percent of headaches are "innocent", that is, they are not dangerous to our health.
The bad news is, that the 10 Percentage of headaches is a sign of a serious condition, which requires us to see a doctor immediately.
When immediate medical intervention is required;
Early diagnosis and treatment of the cause of the headache, can save our lives. Neurological assessment and imaging tests (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging), usually, reject or confirm the existence of a serious problem.
The 10 "Bells" of the dangerous headache
If you are experiencing a type of headache that is new to you (headache) There are ten "bells" that indicate that it can be dangerous and you need immediate medical help:
- The headache is very acute, appears and peaks suddenly, within a few minutes.
- You have a headache that gets worse after a recent head injury 24 hours and possibly accompanied by dizziness or lethargy.
- Ο πονοκέφαλος συνοδεύεται από νευρολογικά συμπτώματα, such as numbness or weakness in one limb, speech problem (you get confused when you speak or find it difficult to find the right words to say what you want), vision problems or difficulty concentrating, confusion, memory loss.
- The headache is intense, you can not stand the light (photophobia), you have cervical stiffness and fever (especially if you have a rash)
- The headache started when you coughed or sneezed, when you suddenly lifted weight, during or immediately after sexual intercourse.
- It's the worst headache you have ever experienced and you have never experienced a similar headache before. Some patients describe it as "like lightning striking the back of the head".
- You feel severe pain in the back of the head or pain that goes down to the neck.
- You may suddenly experience severe headaches while taking anticoagulants.
- You have a severe headache and a low immune system (are you undergoing chemotherapy or steroid therapy or have diabetes)
- You are over 50 years and feel an unprecedented kind of headache, especially if it is on one side of the head or if you have constant headaches.
- Daily, especially breakfast, headache for days, with a gradual increase in its intensity and accompanying nausea.
The distinction between simple headaches and those that should make us anxious is not easy for the patient.
Headaches are categorized into many different groups, with basic classification in primary (idiopathic headaches, such as migraine and tension headache) and secondary, which is the result of some pathological cause.
Several serious diseases, have as one of their main symptoms the headache (headache) and usually in each condition the headache has different characteristics.
- Aneurysm rupture: unusual, sudden, severe headache - neck pain (headache in the back of the head and neck), which may be accompanied by dizziness, nausea or vomiting, epileptic seizures, vision disorders, severe pain in the face or eye, numbness in one limb or face.
- Meningitis: severe headache, intolerance to light, cervical stiffness, fever and rash.
- Encephalitis: severe headache, accompanied by fever, drowsiness, motion sickness, puke, convulsions.
- Brain tumor: headaches are steadily worsening, do not respond to painkillers, usually wake the patient at night, are more intense in the morning, worsen when the patient bends over, coughs or sneezes.
- Thrombosis in cerebral veins: sudden, Moderate to severe diffuse headache or severe, persistent tightness headache, which is often accompanied by convulsions, motion sickness, vomiting and neurological symptoms.
- Idiopathic intracranial hypertension: daily severe headache, at maximum intensity when you wake up, which improves in the upright position, worsens with cough, usually accompanied by tinnitus and visual disturbances (diplopia and blurred vision).
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage: sudden onset of very severe headache, at the back of the head, which is often accompanied by cervical stiffness, epileptic seizures and loss of consciousness.
- Low intracranial pressure: daily headache, occurs when the patient is standing and recedes when the patient is lying down, the pain is more intense in the back of the head and neck, often accompanied by nausea, dizziness, tinnitus and vision problems (diplopia).
- Temporal arteritis: strong, throbbing, persistent headache, usually located on one side of the head, sensitivity of the scalp, jaw pain when chewing, usually accompanied by tithes and fatigue.
It is important to remember that about 90 percent of headaches are "innocent". But if you recognize any of the "danger bells", you should seek specialized medical help immediately. Rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatment, can save your life.