When to Worry About a Headache: 5 Most Serious Symptoms

Headaches can be painful and uncomfortable, but you usually do not need to worry about them. After all, most headaches aren’t that serious or related to another health condition. You lie down a little, relax, listen to some light music, and the headache gradually goes away. But it is not that simple or easy all the time. Sometimes, headaches can be debilitating enough to make you stop anything are doing. At times, headaches are a sign of something seriously wrong in the body. So, read on to know the five most serious symptoms related to a headache. 

1. Recurring Headaches 

Chronic headaches are those that take place for fifteen days or more in a month for over three months. These headaches can be disruptive to daily life and be hard to manage without any medical advice. You need to seek medical assistance if you regularly have at least two headaches a week and the symptoms disrupt your daily activities. Multiple possible underlying causes exist in this case.  

It can be a serious brain problem or simple tension headaches. A doctor can diagnose the probable cause and the right headache treatment. It will help you identify the headache triggers so that you can make changes in the daily regime to reduce the symptoms. 

2. Persistent Headaches 

A headache that lasts long is a miserable experience that might make a person miss school or work. However, such headaches are typically not a cause of alarm at all times. Though a persistent headache is not automatically a sign of any serious underlying health condition, it’s an indicator of the headache disorder. 

Consult a doctor for any headache that keeps going longer than one week. Also, talk to a doctor if you need to take pain medication frequently for the headache or face trouble working in your daily life because of it. 

3. Changes in Mental Function 

If you or a person you know has a severe headache, along with loss of coordination, weakness, or confusion, you need to seek immediate medical help. Such symptoms are usually warning signs of a stroke. Understanding the symptoms and signs of a stroke lets you know when to be alarmed. 

Along with headaches, if someone has difficulty speaking or walking, or keeps slurring while talking, they need to be rushed to the emergency room right away. An untreated stroke causes irreversible brain damage. Doctors can carry out any emergency assessment, and treatment varies based on the stroke type. 

4. Intense Pain 

See a doctor right away if you have the kind of headache that you would call the worst one of your life. Sudden, intense headaches, often known as thunderclap headaches, aren’t always serious, though they can be a symptom of a possibly life-threatening medical condition. 

Intense and sudden headaches tend to indicate internal bleeding in the brain or aneurysm. Other signs of this are loss of consciousness, seizures, and blurred vision. Untreated aneurysms can be fatal or lead to coma. 

Though hardly ten percent of thunderclap headaches come from internal bleeding, you still need to see immediate medical attention. Your doctor will order a CT scan to assess the underlying cause and administer headache treatment accordingly. 

5. Headaches with Stiff Neck and High Body Temperature 

If you are facing a severe headache, stiff neck, and fever at the same time, there’s a high chance that you have meningitis. It is an inflammation of the spinal cord membranes and the brain. Some other added symptoms are a rash, drowsiness, vomiting, and muscle pain. 

You need emergency medical attention in meningitis. Some illnesses tend to go away gradually, but bacterial meningitis has a quick progression. It can be fatal or lead to long-term disability. If you think you or anyone else is suffering from meningitis, seek headache treatment right away. Let the doctor determine the right treatment course. 

Can serious headaches be prevented? 

If you have a serious headache from a chronic condition, such as migraine, a doctor will recommend prescription drugs to reduce or prevent migraines. Make sure to take medication daily if you have hypertension. Go by a low-sodium diet to keep the blood pressure from suddenly spiking. It helps to keep a blood pressure monitor at home to check blood pressure regularly. It helps in preventing severe headaches that are caused by hypertension. 

The bottom line 

If that headache keeps returning, continues for a pretty long time, or interferes with your daily life, you need to talk to a medical professional and seek help to manage your discomfort. If you or a loved one has a persistent headache and any added symptoms like loss of consciousness and confusion, it can be called an emergency.


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