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HomeLifestyleCluster headaches may increase in summer

Cluster headaches may increase in summer

Cluster headaches are a type of chronic headache. It happens intermittently ie once it happens the patient stays well for some time. Then another day happens. But nowadays due to extreme heat, the suffering of such headache patients has increased.

This problem is usually more in boys. Because they have to go out more. Those who are 20 years old or above are more prone to this type of headache. If someone in the family has it, there is a risk of it happening to others.

Scientists still haven’t figured out the exact cause of cluster headaches. However, it has been proven that this problem is related to two substances named serotonin and histamine. Cluster headaches include red eyes, watery eyes, stuffy or runny nose, restlessness, nausea, and loss of appetite.

This type of headache is usually on one side. It is not very difficult to detect, but an experienced doctor should be consulted. History and physical examination can give an idea about the disease. CT scan and MRI may be needed to check for other diseases. Some ‘trigger factors’ are alcohol and smoking, very bright lights, heat, certain drugs, cocaine, overexertion, excessive heat or exposure to the sun, climbing to high altitudes. Due to these, this headache starts suddenly.

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Some medications prevent cluster headaches. Such as propanolol, verapamil, cyproheptadine, topiramate, valproic acid, lithium, amitriptyline etc.

Triptan-like drugs or steroids are used for sudden onset of cluster headaches.

By immersing the feet in a bucket of cold water for 10 minutes, giving 100% oxygen, the patient gets relief quickly.

Cluster headaches are not life-threatening. This type of pain does not cause any damage to the brain. But such pain causes physical and mental suffering. It is possible to get relief from such pain by visiting an experienced neuromedicine specialist.

Dr. MS Zahirul Haque Chowdhury, Professor, Clinical Neurology, National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospital, Dhaka