Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oooo, your achin' noggin


…The National Headache Foundation invites you to diagnose what type of headache you have.

…You don’t get headaches? You are so lucky. HA used to say that before her eye surgery. Oh, how the worm has turned now, though!

…Headaches are rarely life-threatening, the Foundation notes, but they surely can cut into the quality of life!

…The NHF partnered with GlaxoSmithKline (HA also used to work for them) to talk about migraines. Glaxo makes Imitrex, the injectable migraine-stopper, so keep that in mind.

…More than half of those who probably have migraines have never been diagnosed and take various over-the-counter nostrums.

…More often than not, the pharmco says, people are told they have sinus headaches when they really have migraines.

…Migraines affect 29.5 million Americans. That’s a bunch. Women are three times as likely as men to get them. The throbbing head pain is usually on one side of the head and can be accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound (you don’t always get that weird warning called an aura). Some people get them more than 15 days month!
Migraine triggers include diet, stress, environment, odors, emotions, medications, and hormones.

…Tension-type headaches affect 78% of Americans at some point in their lives. This is a pressing or tightening pain on both sides of the head. They can result from anxiety or depression. Changes in sleep patterns, insomnia, early morning or late-day occurrence of the headache, feelings of guilt, dizziness, poor concentration, weight loss, and fatigue or nausea can accompany these.

…Cluster headaches affect mainly men (90%) and hit 1 million people a year. The attacks, not the pain, are clustered. Sufferers can get a series of these for several weeks or months, and then they disappear for months or years. Spring and early autumn are prime time—thus these headaches are often attributed to allergies. They are usually one-sided, behind the eye region radiating to the face or neck. During a “cluster,” smoking or alcohol can make them worse, though smoking and alcohol don’t seem to bring them on if they are not already occurring.

…Secondary headaches come from another cause, such as tumors, infections, high blood pressure, blood clots, aneurysms, and other bad things. Go straight to a doctor if you experience loss of consciousness or confusion, the worst headache you ever had, or weakness in some part of your body along with the headache.

…Most headaches can be managed with such things as relaxation training, prescription drugs, guide imagery, biofeedback, acupuncture, massage therapy, prescription meds, or even the popular OTC meds.

…That woman in the picture? Could that hairy couch be the problem? The Foundation didn’t mention hairy couches, but HA is wondering. It's pretty hairy.

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