Headache: when to see a doctor

Migraine ranks fifth in the disability ranking and it is estimated that more than 90% of the world’s population had a headache at some point in their lives. Self-medication, intense sensory stimuli and sudden changes in temperature can be some of the causes of this condition that sometimes prevents daily activities.

Statistics reveal that out of three women only one man has headaches. Hormonal changes in women such as menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause and the use of contraceptives can modify their frequency. Also, headaches are more prevalent in people over 30 years of age and usually start at puberty.

Doctor Daniel Gestro, from the Neurology Division of the “José de San Martín” Hospital of Clinics, tells us that “the causes of Headaches They can occur due to very varied reasons: from climatic changes, sudden changes in temperature, the arrival of storms, sudden changes in barometric pressure or altitude to intense sensory stimuli (bright lights, loud noises, intense aromas: perfumes, incense, gasoline, bleach)”.

It reveals that there are preventive treatments that can prevent headaches. That would be the ideal: that they do not arrive. The more we identify what can cause us pain, the better it will be not to replicate those scenarios.

Regarding food, Gestro maintains that “although there are foods such as chocolate, canned goods, sausages, and alcoholic beverages (which have chemical substances of their own or added that are capable of triggering migraine episodes), there is no diet or a food plan that ensures to avoid these episodes”.

From his clinical experience, the percentage of migraineurs who trigger an attack by what they eat or drink is very low. And of this small group, each one is sensitive to one or more foods or drinks, but not all of them. “’Hepatic’ headaches don’t exist. Nausea and vomiting are part of the migraine attack,” he clarifies.

“The most important thing is to clarify that migraine has a solution. We have a large number of preventives that increase as we learn more about their mechanism. We can control this condition and improve the quality of life”, says the doctor.

When to consult a specialist? Call if the pain is sudden and severe, affects one side of the head, is associated with pain in one eye, or is preceded by lights. In the same way, consultation should be made if it is associated with confusion or fainting, if it worsens in frequency or duration, or if it interferes with daily activity.

“Repeated episodes often lead the patient to self-medication, which can lead to other consequences due to abuse of analgesics,” warns Gestro. Eating something every three hours, getting a good night’s sleep, and engaging in daily physical activity help prevent seizures.

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