Tuesday, April 05, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — For some longtime headache sufferers, aging offers a benefit: milder headache symptoms and fewer headaches. The April issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers changes in headaches that adults may see as they reach their 50s and 60s.
Tension headaches: For those who experience tension headaches throughout adulthood, the frequency generally decreases with age. These headaches can feel like a tight band around the head, or a dull squeezing sensation.
Migraines: For older adults who have had migraines earlier in life, this type of headache often diminishes in number and intensity with age. The nature of migraines tends to change, too. Head pain may be more spread out rather than in one focused area. Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound tend to occur less frequently with age. Older adults may experience new symptoms such as dry mouth during a migraine. Some older adults experience an aura, a painless visual change, without a headache.
New types of headaches: With age, any new type of headache is increasingly likely to be related to an underlying medical condition, ranging from sleep apnea to a stroke or brain tumor. Immediate medical care is warranted when a headache:
Generally, adults over 50 should talk with their doctor about new headache symptoms.
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