7 Healthcast: Dangerous Headaches
We all get a headache at one time or another, but how can you tell if that pain might be a sign of something more dangerous?
Most headaches are caused by tension and stress. But there are three other triggers that can be deadly. They include infection, bleeding and a brain mass, like a tumor. And yes, there are some ways you can tell if you have a dangerous headache.
Most of us get headaches. So what's the first sign that something is seriously wrong?
- Dr. David Thaler, New England Medical Center Neurologist
"The headaches that concern me as a physician, are the headaches that are different for that patient."
For example, a headache in the morning if you often get them at night.
A dangerous headache often comes with other neurological changes, including:
*Weakness on one side of the body
*Sensitivity to light
*Nausea and vomiting
Definitely, you need to come to the emergency room if you have any of those symptoms. And there's one more important sign that your headache may be dangerous.
- Dr. David Thaler
"It comes on instantaneously. It doesn't have to be severe. This is something I teach the residents. It's not 'the worst headache of my life'."
If you often get headaches it's a good idea to keep track of their pattern, when they occur and where. This is all valuable information if you need to see a neurologist.
Another vital sign is a brief loss of consciousness. Again, you need to go to an emergency room because that kind of headache could indicate a stroke.