For all those who’ve been down with different types of headaches, there’s good news: migraines and other types of headaches may become less frequent and severe over time. Isn’t that great!
Every age group is vulnerable to headaches. “Often doctors claim that they see patients with headaches all through the age spectrum,” says Mary Quiceno, MD assistant professor neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. So whether you’re concerned by regular tension headaches or bothered by migraines, symptoms appears to calm down with advancing age; this is especially true for most female migraine patients once they reach menopause.
Headaches and Migraines Through the Life Cycle
One of the most common types of headache experienced by all age groups is tension headache, which results due to tight muscles in neck, shoulders, jaw. Any person can experience this type of headache.
Migraines (less common), are often accompanied by specific symptoms such as visual disturbances called nausea, auras, and sensitivity to noise or light. Only about 14-16 percent of kids who get frequent headaches will have to bear with them through their adult years, but teens and kids with regular migraine symptoms can continue to expect them into adulthood.
Though women can experience migraines throughout their adulthood, they tend to reduce in intensity with menopause. They become less frequent and also less severe. There are thousands of women who have had migraines but lost them at menopause.
A small number of women can experience just the opposite, having their first migraine attack as they approach preimenopause and menopause. This is mainly due to their body’s reaction to gradual hormone shift.
Men also get migraines, but women are three to four times more likely to get attacks than men, mainly due to the link between hormones and migraines.
Headaches at Your Age? When’s the Time to Worry
While most headache sufferers may see some improvement over time, one scenario may necessitate immediate medical attention: if you begin experiencing a new headache and you’re above 50, talk to your doctor.
“We often get concerned about people experiencing new-onset headaches.”, says Quiceno. These headaches-especially if they’re accompanied by newer symptoms-can lead to many new health problems that need thorough investigation. Temporal arteritis, also referred to as cranial arteritis (giant cell arteritis) is the most common reason for new headaches experienced by those above 50. People with this condition may have inflamed blood vessels, mostly due to faulty immune response. Temporal arteritis is quite serious and may even result in blindness if it’s not quickly addressed by a doctor.
Other possible causes include aneurysms, brain tumors, and even strokes. Of course, headaches can happen even due to less serious conditions, but it’s safe to discuss your condition with your doctor if you experience unusual headache symptoms suddenly.
You can stay healthy with recurring headaches by paying due attention to its patterns. If your headache pattern changes-at any age-discuss this with your doctor immediately.