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When should you worry about a headache?

 Headaches are quite common and can be caused by sleep deprivation, dehydration or stress (Photo: iStock)

Headaches are usually common and most people don’t think too much about them. They can come when you’re dehydrated or stressed out and they can also happen when you’ve strained your eyes, among other usual reasons.

Although they’re common, it’s still important to know when you should be worried because this could save your life. There are certain types of headaches that might indicate an underlying illness like a headache disorder or a medical emergency such as a stroke.

These five major signs should tell you when you need to go to the doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis and treatment:

The headaches are persistent

The main thing that we often go for when we have a headache is over the counter painkillers. There are different options available that cater to people’s specific needs and they all usually work most of the time.

Some headaches also go away on their own like the ones caused by dehydration or sleep deprivation. All you need to do is drink enough water or sleep, and within a short time, the headache will be gone.

It is a red flag however when you’ve tried all these common remedies but the headache still won’t go away. You should visit your doctor to find out what the underlying issue is.

They are coming more frequently

If you normally get headaches once in two months or even once a year but now you’re experiencing them more frequently, you need to investigate.

In case you know the headaches are coming as a result of stress, for example, it shows you need to find ways to cope better for the headaches to reduce.

If you don’t know what the main issue is, you need to get a proper diagnosis. You should also be keen on noting whether the headaches mostly occur around a certain area because that could also indicate a medical condition.

 Not all types of headaches will require medication (Photo: iStock)
They are accompanied by other symptoms

Headaches are uncomfortable in general and they might even prevent you from being productive. But something that might indicate an underlying problem is whether your headaches come with other serious symptoms like fever, dizziness, blurred vision and confusion.

These aren’t normal symptoms and you should be rushed to a hospital immediately.

They feel more severe

The intensity of a headache can also differentiate a normal headache from something you should be worried about.

If you’ve noticed that the pain is gradually becoming more severe, it’s another reason to go to the doctor. It is advisable not to wait for the pain to become unbearable before you seek medical assistance. The moment you notice this trend go to the hospital.

They come suddenly

Common headaches and migraines usually come gradually. But headaches that come suddenly are definitely something to worry about. This type of headache is known as a ‘thunderclap headache’ because it comes unexpectedly and the pain is usually very intense.

This type of headache often comes after physical strain and it might also be accompanied by other symptoms like physical weakness and speech problems. This is a situation that needs urgent medical attention.

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