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Headaches refer to a type of disorder that affects one’s central nervous system. In fact, it is a global bane as everyone has experienced a headache at some point in their lives. They can strike without warning and diminish your energy. Their intensity and frequency differ from person to person. There are three main types of headaches, i.e., cluster, migraines, and tension. The latter is very common and causes pain to persist on both sides of the head.

The problem with headaches is that people often disregard them as a non-serious inconvenience. They believe that headaches will subside in a matter of time. However, you should keep in mind that a seemingly harmless headache could have grave implications. Here are some signs that tell you when a headache becomes dangerous:

Headaches After Previous Risky Sexual Interactions

Headaches are one of the most persistent symptoms of HIV. Over 45% of patients with primary HIV sought treatment for tension-associated headaches. Other types of headaches reported include migraines. Now, if an individual suffers from primary headaches like tension headaches or migraines, it does not always mean that he or she has the human immunodeficiency virus. In many cases, the headaches may not signify any underlying illness.

As HIV undermines the immune system severely and allow diseases to easily strike, an individual may experience sinus headaches, meningitis, or other types of secondary headaches. In this case, it could indicate that the HIV has progressed.

Headaches Accompanied by Face and Neck Pain

Your carotid arteries are located along the sides of your neck. They are responsible for delivering blood from your heart to your head, ears, face, and neck. If one of those arteries suffer a tear, blood may enter and fill up empty space between the layers of the arteries. Also known as CAD, this process is called carotid artery dissection. With the accumulation of excess blood, clots prevent fresh blood from flowing to the brain. The person could suffer a stroke as a result. Do note that a headache accompanied by extreme pain in the face or neck may lead to CAD.

Progressive Headaches with Weakness and Numbness

If venous sinuses get clogged, the medical issue could cause cerebral venous thrombosis. Also known as CVT, it may allow blood to accumulate and cause subsequent bleeding in and around the brain. This is one of the major causes of strokes. Headaches that persist with similar symptoms, progress over a few days or weeks, could be a clear sign of CVT.

If that’s the case, the individual may experience numbness and weakness on one side of the arm, shoulder, or head. They may have problems with his or her vision and speech, as well as become hyper sensitive to loud sounds and lights.

Thunderclap Headaches

Just like a flash of a lightning bolt striking a tree, thunderclap headaches can happen very suddenly. This type of headache can inflict pain that reaches peak intensity within a minute. The pain may also persist and the subside about an hour later. Thunderclap headaches are often a sign of subarachnoid hemorrhage. In fact, it is the primary feature of such hemorrhages. This potentially fatal condition can result in swollen brain arteries, ruptured arteries, bleeding around the brain, stroke, or even death. Many patients who suffered from subarachnoid hemorrhage reported that it was the worst headache of their life. Other associated symptoms of this headache include mental confusion, vomiting, and nausea.

If you have been experiencing persistent headaches for an extended period of time, you should consult a migraine or headache specialist without delay. You can use the Concierge Key Health app to find experienced doctors quickly.