A headache (medically termed cephalgia) is a pain in the head. Headaches can be located anywhere in the head, including above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital headache), the top of the head (coronal headache), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or backache, has many causes.
All headaches are considered primary headaches or secondary headaches. Primary headaches are not associated with other diseases. Examples of primary headaches are migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other diseases. The associated disease may be minor or major.
Headaches can be associated with symptoms such as
- pain in the eyes when looking into bright lights (photophobia),
- tenderness of the scalp,
- tightness sensation in the head, and
There are many types of headaches. Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache. As many as 90% of adults have tension headaches. Tension headaches are more common among women than men.
Migraine headaches are the second most common type of primary headache. An estimated 28 million people in the U.S. have migraine headaches. Migraine headaches affect children as well as adults. Before puberty, boys and girls are affected equally by migraine headaches, but after puberty more women than men have them. Migraine often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as tension or sinus headaches.
Cluster headaches are a rare but important type of primary headache, affecting mainly men. The average age of cluster headache sufferers is 28-30 years of age, although headaches may begin in childhood.
Secondary headaches may result from innumerable conditions, ranging from life-threatening ones such as brain tumors, strokes, meningitis, vasculitis, and subarachnoid hemorrhages to less serious but common conditions such as withdrawal from caffeine, sinus infection (sinusitis), and discontinuation of analgesics (painkilling medication). Pregnancy sometimes causes headaches. Many people suffer from "mixed" headache disorders in which tension headaches or secondary headaches may trigger migraine.
The treatment of the headache depends on the type and severity of the headache and on other factors, such as the age of the patient.
Other causes of headache
- Bacterial Infection (Inside or Outside of the Head)
- Cluster Headache
- Cold Drink or Food ("Brain Freeze")
- Compression of Head (Hat, Helmet, etc.)
- Illicit Drug Withdrawal
- Intracranial Hemorrhage
- Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription)
- Sexual Activity
- Trauma Injury to Head or Neck
- Viral Infection (Inside or Outside of the Head)
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.Next Article
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Causes of Headache
14 Signs and Symptoms of Stroke (FAST)
Stroke is a serious medical condition. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke call 911 immediately. There are two main types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic (the most common type). A hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to a blood vessel rupture in the brain. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in a blood vessel in the brain, which causes a loss of blood supply to the brain, possibly causing brain tissue death. FAST is an acronym that helps people identify stroke signs and symptoms so they can act fast and call 911. Face drooping, Arm weakness, and Speech difficulty are indicators that a person may be having a stroke and it is Time to seek emergency medical treatment. Additional signs and symptoms of stroke may include weakness, difficulty walking, blurred vision, dizziness, headache, confusion, difficulty speaking, and loss of sensation. Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. Early identification and treatment of stroke helps reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality.
Acanthamoeba is an amoeba that lives in dust, soil, and fresh, sea, and brackish water. Acanthamoeba keratitis causes eye pain, a sensation of something in the eye, and blurry vision. Acanthamoeba causes granulomatous encephalitis, leading to seizures, hallucinations, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Diseeminated infection may also result from Acanthamoeba infection.
Angina (Symptoms, Causes, Types, Diagnosis, and Treatment)
Angina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning, squeezing, and aching. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of angina but there are other causes. Angina is diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history and performing tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood test, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart catheterization. Treatment of angina usually includes lifestyle modification, medication, and sometimes, surgery. The risk of angina can be reduced by following a heart healthy lifestyle.
Anthrax is a deadly infectious disease that may be transmitted to humans by infected animals or by biological warfare. There are three types of anthrax: cutaneous, inhalation, and gastrointestinal. Symptoms of cutaneous anthrax include a swollen glands, muscle ache, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and a red-brown raised spot that enlarges, blisters, and hardens, forming an ulcer crater with black crust. Symptoms of inhalation anthrax are flu-like and may progress to respiratory distress, shock, coma, and death. Symptoms of gastrointestinal anthrax include loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Treatment for cutaneous anthrax involves penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, and ciprofloxin. Inhalation anthrax necessitates treatment with IV therapy with antibiotics.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
Are You Too Sick to Work?
When you're not feeling well, it may be difficult to decide whether to stay home or go to school or work. Conditions that are very painful may prevent you from working effectively. Anyone with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or dizziness should stay home.
Asthma in Children
Asthma in children manifests with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Rates of asthma in children are increasing. Asthma in children is usually diagnosed based on the description of symptoms. Lung function tests may also be used. A variety of medications are used for the treatment of childhood asthma.
Astigmatism is an eye condition in which the cornea is abnormally curved and causes out-of-focus vision. Symptoms of astigmatism may include eye strain, squinting, eye fatigue, and headaches. Most astigmatism arises within the cornea although some forms occur in the lens. Astigmatism is diagnosed via a complete eye exam. Some cases of astigmatism can be treated with corrective eyewear. Astigmatism can also be treated with LASIK surgery.
Balamuthia mandrillarisis is an ameba that lives in dust and soil. Signs and symptoms of Balamuthia include fever, nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, headache, stiff neck, and headaches. There are various diagnostic tests and medications that treat Balamuthia infection.
Bourbon virus disease is a tick-borne disease that causes signs and symptoms that include fever, rash, headache, vomiting and nausea. The Lone Star tick transmits the disease to humans. Treatment focuses on supportive care.
Brain aneurysm (cerebral aneurysm) is caused by microscopic damage to artery walls, infections of the artery walls, tumors, trauma, drug abuse. Symptoms include headache, numbness of the face, dilated pupils, changes in vision, the "worst headache of your life," or a painful stiff neck. Immediate treatment for a brain aneurysm is crucial for patient survival.
Cancers that form from brain tissue are called primary brain tumors. Brain tumors may be malignant (brain cancer) or benign. Certain risk factors, such as working in an oil refinery, as a chemist, or embalmer, increase the likelihood of developing brain cancer. Symptoms include headaches, weakness, seizures, difficulty walking, blurry vision, nausea,vomiting, and changes in speech, memory, or personality. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Brain Damage: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
Brain damage causes destruction or deterioration of brain cells. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI) are two kinds of brain damage. Symptoms may include headaches, confusion, memory problems, nausea, and more. Treatment includes patient stabilization and ensuring that blood and oxygen are flowing to the brain. Adequate blood pressure control is also necessary. In cases of severe brain damage, surgery and rehabilitation may be required.
Brain Eating Amoeba (Naegleria fowleri)
Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba found in freshwater and soil. Infection results when the amoeba enters the nose and travels to the brain and spinal cord, causing primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which destroys brain tissue.
Brain Lesions (Lesions on the Brain)
A brain lesion is defined as an area of damaged brain. Brain lesions (lesions on the brain) are caused by: trauma, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cancers, other diseases, stroke, bleeding, pituitary adenomas, and cerebral palsy. Symptoms of brain lesions include headache, nausea, fever, neck pain and stiffness, affected vision and speech, and weakness or paralysis to one side of the body. Diagnosis of brain lesions is generally accomplished with imaging studies like CT or MRI scans. Treatment and prognosis of brain lesions depends on the cause of the lesion.
Brain Tumor (Symptoms, Signs, Types, Causes, Survival Rates)
A brain tumor can be either non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), primary, or secondary. Common symptoms of a primary brain tumor are headaches, seizures, memory problems, personality changes, and nausea and vomiting. Causes and risk factors include age, gender, family history, and exposure to chemicals. Treatment is depends upon the tumor type, grade, and location.
Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures)
A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as: compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral, vertebral compression, compound, and comminuted. Symptoms of a broken bone include pain at the site of injury, swelling, and bruising around the area of injury. Treatment of a fracture depends on the type and location of the injury.
The bacteria Brucella causes brucellosis, an infectious zoonotic disease in humans. Symptoms and signs include fatigue, fever, sweating, and appetite loss. The preferred treatment is doxycycline and rifampin taken for six to eight weeks.
Bullying is repeated physical or verbal aggression that involves an imbalance of power. Types of bullying include physical, verbal, relational, reactive, and assaults on a person's property.
Burkitt lymphomas are types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that affect the bone marrow and central nervous system. There are multiple types of Burkitt lymphoma. Gene mutations, malaria, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may increase the risk of these cancers. Symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma may include nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, and many other symptoms. Diagnosis involves lab testing, imaging studies, patient history, and cytogenic evaluation. There are multiple staging systems used to stage Burkitt lymphoma. Treatment consists of chemotherapy. The prognosis of the cancer tends to be more favorable in children than in adults.
The bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorsus is common in the mouths of cats, people, and dogs. People with weak immune systems are at risk for contracting Capnocytophaga infections. Antibiotics can kill this bacteria.
Cat Scratch Disease
Cat scratch disease (CSD or cat scratch fever), a bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae, is characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, poor appetite, swelling of the lymph nodes, and mild infection at the site of the bite or scratch. Cats that carry B. henselae don't show signs of illness. Approximately 40% of cats carry the bacteria at some point in their lives.
Chikungunya Virus (Chikungunya Infection)
Chikungunya virus is an infection spread (transmitted) through a bite from an infected mosquito. Common symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection include joint pain, headache, rash, and fever. There is no drug or vaccine available to treat or prevent Chikungunya virus infections. Some medicines and home remedies may help relieve symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that lasts six months or longer, is not improved by bed rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Cold Agglutinin Disease
Cold agglutinin hemolytic anemia or cold agglutinin hemolytic disease, is rare disorder of the autoimmune system. There are two types of cold agglutinin disease, primary and secondary. Characteristics, symptoms, and signs of in cold agglutinin disease are premature destruction of red blood cells in the body’s natural defense antibodies. The lifespan of red blood cells is approximately 120 before the spleen destroys the antibodies. In cold agglutinin disease, the severity of the condition is determined by how long it takes for the red blood cells to survive, and at the rate that the bone marrow continues to produce more red cells. Immune hemolytic anemias are classified by the optimal temperature when the antibodies try to destroy red blood cells. Cold agglutinin anemia occurs at temperatures between 10 C (50 F) and 37 C (F 98.6) or above while the body warms antibody hemolytic anemia. Usually, cold agglutinin anemia becomes apparent between the ages of 50 to 60. Other symptoms of the disease include fatigue, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fingers and/or toes are cold and sweat, an uneven bluish or reddish discoloration of the toes, ankles, and wrists (Raynaud's syndrome), and fingers. Usually, cold agglutinin anemia affects people that are older. The disease is diagnosed by a physical exam, and the Coomb's test. If the red blood cells destruction seem to be slowing on its own, treatment therapies, usually, isn’t needed. Other treatments for cold agglutinin anemia are corticosteroids, and splenectomy (removal of the spleen). There is no cure for cold agglutinin disease.
Cold vs. Flu
Though the common cold and flu share many signs and symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. Signs and symptoms include sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, and cough. Treatment options for the cold and flu are similar and focus on reducing symptoms. Doctors may prescribe antivirals/neuraminidase inhibitors for the flu.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Coma is the inability to waken or react to the surrounding environment. The Glasgow Coma Scale is frequently used to measure the depth of coma. Causes of coma include trauma, bleeding, edema, lack of oxygen, poisoning, or hypoglycemia. Prognosis for a patient in a coma depends on the cause of the coma.
The common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
Concussion is a short-lived loss of brain function that is due to head trauma. There are two types of concussion, simple and complex. Symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, dizziness, dazed feeling, irritability, visual symptoms. Physical signs include poor concentration, emotional changes, slurred speech, and personality changes. Concussion is diagnosed with physical examination and testing. Treatment for concussion in general are treatment for control of the symptoms, and time.
The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye. If it is damaged by disease, infection, or injury, vision problems may occur. Corneal problems can be detected by having an eye exam. Corneal problems can be prevented by protecting the eyes from injury and avoiding contact with people who have eye infections.
Cough (Chronic, Persistent Cough in Adults and Children)
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus infection, cigarette smoking, GERD, postnasal drip, bronchitis, pneumonia, medications, and less frequently tumors or other lung disease. Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Cysticercosis (Pork Tapeworm Infection)
Cysticercosis is an infection caused by Taenia solium, the pork tapeworm. Symptoms include seizures, lethargy, nausea and vomiting, headache, vision changes, weakness, and confusion. Treatment depends upon the individual's symptoms and the stage of the infection. Treatment may incorporate anthelmintics, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and/or surgery.
Dengue fever is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms and signs of dengue include headache, fever, exhaustion, severe joint and muscle pain, rash, and swollen glands. Since dengue is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine to treat it. Treatment instead focuses on relieving the symptoms.
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Domestic violence, or intimate partner abuse, is when one person in an intimate relationship uses any means to control the other person. It may take many forms, including emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, or economic abuse. Risk factors for domestic violence include drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, and having a relationship with the victim. Part of treating domestic violence involves keeping the victim safe and developing a safety plan for home and the workplace.
Double vision (diplopia) is a symptom that my indicate Graves' disease, myasthenia gravis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, diabetes, cataracts, aneurysm, brain tumor, or migraine. Symptoms and signs include eye pain, droopy eyelids, nausea, headache, and a cross-eyed appearance. Treatment of double vision depends upon the underlying cause.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs
Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms include missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease or Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever)
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (HF) is an often-fatal disease that causes fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, stomach pain, rash, and red eyes. There is no standard treatment for Ebola HF.
Encephalitis is a brain inflammation that causes sudden fever, vomiting, headache, light sensitivity, stiff neck and back, drowsiness, and irritability. Treatment may incorporate anticonvulsants and antiviral medications.
Encephalopathy means brain disease, damage, or malfunction. Causes of encephalopathy are varied and numerous. The main symptom of encephalopathy is an altered mental state. Other symptoms include: lethargy, dementia, seizures, tremors, and coma. Treatment of encephalopathy depends on the type of encephalopathy (anoxia, diabetic, Hashimoto's, hepatic, hyper - hypotensive, infectious, metabolic, infections, uremic, or Wernicke's) are examples of types of encephalopathy.
Eye strain is a symptom caused by looking at something for a long time. Symptoms and signs include redness, light sensitivity, headaches, and blurred vision. Symptoms may be treated by closing the eyes and taking a break from the visual task.
Fever in Adults and Children
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. The flu may be prevented with an annual influenza vaccination.
Fungal meningitis is a rare disease that is not contagious. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment involves administering high doses of antifungal medications.
Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA or Temporal Arteritis)
Giant cell arteritis, inflammation of blood vessel walls, affects 10%-15% of polymyalgia rheumatica patients. Symptoms of giant cell arteritis include fatigue, weight loss, low-grade fever, jaw pain when chewing, scalp tenderness, and headaches. High doses of cortisone medications are used to treat giant cell arteritis.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye rises because of slowed fluid drainage from the eye. If untreated, glaucoma may damage the optic nerve and other parts of the eye, causing the loss of vision or even blindness.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a disease transmitted by rodents. Symptoms include fever and muscle pain. HPS can be prevented by sealing up rodent entry holes, trapping rats and mice with an appropriate snap trap, and cleaning up rodent food sources.
A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart Attack Treatment
A heart attack involves damage or death of part of the heart muscle due to a blood clot. The aim of heart attack treatment is to prevent or stop this damage to the heart muscle. Heart attack treatments included medications, procedures, and surgeries to protect the heart muscle against injury.
Hereditary Angioedema (HAE)
Hereditary angioedema or HAE is a genetic disease that causes swelling of the skin and tissues beneath it. Symptoms of HAE include shortness of breath, mood changes, laryngeal edema (a medical emergency), swelling of the hands and feet, muscle aches, and skin tingling. Treatment of HAE includes medication and avoidance of triggers.
How Long Is a Cold or Flu Contagious?
Viruses cause the common cold and the flu. Early symptoms and signs for a cold and the flu are similar, however, flu symptoms are typically more severe than cold symptoms. Cold and flu viruses are transmitted typically via coughing or sneezing.
Is Lyme Disease Contagious?
Lyme disease may be transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected tick. The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi causes the disease and is passed to humans during a tick's blood meal. Lyme disease does not spread from person to person.
Is Malaria Contagious?
Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected mosquito. The incubation period for malaria depends upon the species of Plasmodium that the infected mosquito transmits to the individual. Symptoms include high fever, chills, sweating, headaches, vomiting, and nausea.
Is Meningitis Contagious?
Meningitis, inflammation of the meninges, symptoms and signs include neck stiffness, headache, and fever. There are five types of meningitis: viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and noninfectious.
Is Norovirus Contagious?
Noroviruses cause food poisoning symptoms in infected individuals. Norovirus is transmitted via direct and indirect contact. Infections typically resolve in 24-72 hours. Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, headache, and body aches.
Is Scarlet Fever Contagious?
Group A strep bacteria cause scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is transmitted via person-to-person contact and by coming in contact with contaminated objects. Antibiotics treat scarlet fever. Symptoms of scarlet fever include a red rash with a rough, sandpaper-like feeling, a fever above 101F, a red, sore throat, strawberry tongue, headache and bodyaches, nausea, vomiting, enlarged lymphnodes, and a white coating on the back of the throat or tongue.
Is Swine Flu (H1N1) Contagious?
Swine flu (H1N1) is a contagious virus that spreads when an infected individual expels virus-containing droplets into the air during coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, fever, cough, chills, headache, fatigue, and possible vomiting and/or diarrhea. An H1N1 infection typically lasts for about a week.
Is the Ebola Virus Contagious?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through direct contact. Ebola's incubation period ranges from two to 21 days, and it's considered contagious for a period of 21 days after successful treatment/hospitalization. Ebola symptoms and signs include headache, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and hemorrhaging.
Jet lag (desynchonosis) is a temporary disorder that results from travel across time zones. Symptoms include anxiety, constipation, headache, nausea, dehydration, diarrhea, confusion, sweating, irritability, and even memory loss.
Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever that causes flu-like symptoms. Ribavirin is the standard treatment for Lassa fever. Hearing loss is a common complication of Lassa fever.
Legionellosis is an infection caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacterium. There are two forms of legionellosis: Pontiac fever and Legionnaires' disease, which is the more severe of the two infections. Symptoms of Pontiac fever include fever, headache, muscle aches, and chills. Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include cough, chills, fever and sometimes muscle aches, headaches, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and severe pneumonia. While Pontiac fever resolves on its own, Legionnaires' disease must be treated with antibiotics.
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that causes symptoms such as fever, headache, and chills. Treatment for leptospirosis requires antibiotics.
Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Listeriosis symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and fever. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. Listeria infection is treated with antibiotics.
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is a syndrome in which a person's blood sugar is dangerously low. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk for this condition. There are other diseases that can cause a person's blood sugar levels to go too low, for example, pancreatitis, Cushing's syndrome, and pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs that your blood sugar levels are too low include palpitations, trembling, intense hunger, sweating, nervousness, and weakness. If your blood sugars become too low, use these nearby as a quick treatment table sugar, soda, juice, and glucose tablets.
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Malaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. Treatment involves supportive care and antibiotics.
Marburg Virus Disease
Marburg virus disease is a zoonotic infection that produces symptoms such as chills, headaches, fever, and muscle aches. The treatment for Marburg virus disease involves supportive care. Barrier and isolation techniques are the best preventive measures for Marburg infections.
MELAS syndrome, a rare form of dementia, stands for Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes. Mutations in the genetic material (DNA) in the mitochondria cause MELAS syndrome. Symptoms of MELAS include: brain dysfunction (encephalopathy) with seizures and headaches, muscle disease with lactic acid build-up in the blood, temporary local paralysis, and abnormal thinking (dementia). There is no known treatment for MELAS.
Melioidosis (Whitmore's disease) is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria. Symptoms include bronchitis, pneumonia, fever, headache, loss of appetite, cough, and chest pain. Treatment involves antibiotics or surgical removal of the lung abscess in severe cases.
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain. Symptoms include fever, headache, and a stiff neck. Treatment of meningitis depends upon the cause of the infection and may include antibiotics or antiviral medications.
Meningococcemia (Meningococcal Disease)
Meningococcemia is a bloodstream infection caused by Neisseria meningitides. Meningococcemia symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. Meningococcemia is treated with intravenous antibiotics. There is an effective and safe vaccine to protect against most serogroups of meningococcus that cause meningococcemia.
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Mental Illness in Children
About 5 million children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from a serious mental illness such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, pervasive development disorders, elimination disorders, learning disorders, schizophrenia, tic disorders, and mood disorders. Symptoms of mental illness include frequent outbursts of anger, hyperactivity, fear of gaining weight, excessive worrying, frequent temper tantrums, and hearing voices that aren't there. Treatment may involve medication, psychotherapy, and creative therapies.
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
Mucormycosis (zygomycosis) is a fungal infection caused by Zygomycetes. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, bloody vomit, and possible altered mental status. Treatment usually involves debridement of infected tissue and antifungal drugs.
Mumps is an acute viral illness caused by the mumps virus. Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swelling of the salivary glands.
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a form of cancer in which malignant cells form in the nasopharynx tissues. Risk factors include being of Chinese or Asian ancestry and exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus. Symptoms and signs of nasopharyngeal cancer include a sore throat, a lump in the neck or nose, trouble hearing, nosebleeds, headaches, and trouble hearing, breathing, or speaking. Treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer, the tumor size, the type of cancer, and the patient's health and age.
Neck Pain (Cervical Pain)
Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain. Though treatment for neck pain really depends upon the cause, treatment typically may involve heat/ice application, traction, physical therapy, cortisone injection, topical anesthetic creams, and muscle relaxants.
Nipah Virus Infection
Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic infection that fruit bats and pigs can transmit to humans. NiV signs and symptoms include headache, fever, myalgia, atypical pneumonia, and encephalitis. Treatment focuses on supportive care.
Norovirus infection causes stomach flu, or gastroenteritis. It's a very contagious illness with symptoms that include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics, so treatment focuses on maintaining proper hydration.
Occipital Neuralgia (Headache)
Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that involves inflammation or irritation of occipital nerves. Signs and symptoms include a stabbing and throbbing head pain, and an aching pain in the upper back of the head and neck. Potential causes include infection, irritation, or trauma of the occipital nerves. This type of headache is diagnosed by physical examination findings and imaging tests. Treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes massage, rest, physical therapy, heat, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Invasive procedures and even surgery may be considered if first-line treatments fail to bring relief from the chronic pain of this type of headache.
Paget's disease is a chronic bone disorder due to irregular breakdown and formation of bone tissue. Symptoms of Paget's disease include bone pain, headaches and hearing loss, pressure on nerves, increased head size, hip pain, and damage to cartilage of joints.
Plague (Black Death)
Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. Transmission to humans occurs via fleas that have bitten infected rodents. There are three forms of plague that infect humans: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. Antibiotics are the standard treatment for plague.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disorder of the muscles and joints that causes pain and stiffness in the arms, neck, shoulders, and buttocks. Treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica aims to reduce inflammation with aspirin, ibuprofen, and low doses of cortisone medications.
Powassan Virus Disease
Powassan (POW) virus disease is a rare tick-borne disease that causes symptoms such as confusion, memory problems, fever, headache, vomiting, and seizures. POW virus treatment focuses on supportive care that aims to reduce symptoms. There is no medication or cure for POW virus disease.
Q fever is a highly infectious disease that causes high fever, diarrhea, cough, and sweating. Infected animals may transmit Q fever to humans. Antibiotics are available to treat Q fever.
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted via the bite of an infected animal. Symptoms include fever, headaches, and weakness. Treatment involves a series of injections: rabies immune globulin and four rabies vaccines administered over 2 weeks.
Rat Lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis)
Rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) is a parasite that infects rats. The parasite can infect people if ingested by eating undercooked or raw infected snails or slugs. Though rat lungworm often causes no signs and symptoms, the parasite can cause eosinophlic meningitis in some. Stiff neck, headach, vomiting, nausea, and fever are symptoms of eosinophilic meningitis. Treatment is usually unnecessary. For more severe infections, treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne disease that causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash, headache, and muscle aches. The antibiotic doxycycline is the standard treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is typically caused by the consumption of contaminated foods. Symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Salmonellosis typically resolves on its own in four to seven days. It's important to increase one's fluid intake to compensate for the fluid lost by vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)
Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with a sandpaper-like texture, and sore throat. Oral penicillin is the standard treatment for scarlet fever, or scarlatina.
Separation anxiety disorder is a common childhood anxiety disorder that has many causes. Infants, children, older kids and adults can suffer from symptoms of separation anxiety disorder. Common separation anxiety treatment methods include therapy and medications. Factors that contribute to how quickly or successfully a child moves past separation anxiety by preschool age include: how well the parent and child reunite, the skills the child and adult have at coping with the separation, and how well the adult responds to the infant's separation issues. For example, children of anxious parents tend to be anxious children.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
Sick Building Syndrome
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or also referred to as sick building syndrome or environmental illness is the name given by some to a condition in which various symptoms reportedly appear after a person has been exposed to any of a wide range of chemicals. The exposure may occur as a major event, such as a chemical spill, or from long-term contact with low-levels of chemicals, such as in an office with poor ventilation. As a result of exposure, people with MCS (Si ck Building Syndrome) develop sensitivity and have reactions to the chemicals even at levels most people can tolerate.
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms are headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of sinus infections are generally with antibiotics and at times, home remedies.
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge. Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes. Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
Strep Throat (Treatment, Causes, Home Remedies)
Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and fever. Strep throat symptoms in infants and children are different than in adults. Strep throat is contagious and is generally passed from person-to-person. Treatment for strep throat symptoms include home remedies and OTC medication; however, the only cure for strep throat are antibiotics.
Group A streptococcal infections are caused by group A streptococcus, a bacteria that causes a variety of health problems, including strep throat, impetigo, cellulitis, erysipelas, and scarlet fever. There are more than 10 million group A strep infections each year.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Sweet Syndrome (Acute Febrile Neutrophilic Dermatosis)
Sweet syndrome (acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis) is a skin condition that sometimes occurs due to an immune system response to RA, pregnancy, certain cancers, inflammatory bowel diseases, blood disorders, respiratory tract infections, and particular medications. Symptoms and signs include characteristic skin lesions that grow and spread into clusters. Sore eyes, high fever, mouth ulcers, headache, and aching joints may accompany the lesions. Though Sweet syndrome may resolve on its own, more severe cases may require medications like corticosteroids.
Novel H1N1 influenza A virus infection (swine flu) is an infection that generally is transferred from an infected pig to a human, however there have been reported cases where infection has occured with no contact with infected pigs. Symptoms of swine flu are "flu-like" and include fever, cough, and sore throat. Treatment is generally with the antibiotics oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza).
Takayasu disease (also referred to as Takayasu arteritis) is a chronic inflammation of the aorta and its branch arteries. Takayasu disease is most common of Women of Asian descent and usually begins between 10 and 30 years of age. Symptoms include painful extremities, dizziness, headaches, chest and abdominal pain, and a low-grade fever. Treatment for Takayasu disease includes cortisone medication to suppress the inflammation.
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder that causes symptoms like pain, clicking, and popping of the jaw. TMJ is caused by injury to the temporomandibular joint. Stress, poor posture, jaw trauma, genetic predisposition, and inflammatory disorders are risk factors for the condition. A variety of self-care measures (application of ice, use of over-the-counter pain medication, massage, relaxation techniques) and medical treatment options (dental splint, Botox, prescription medications, surgery) are available to manage TMJ. The prognosis of TMJ is good with proper treatment.
Tension Headache (Symptoms, Relief, Causes, Treatment)
A tension headache s one of the most common types of headaches, and the exact cause is not known. Factors that may contribute to tension or stress headaches are lack of sleep, increased stress (referred to as a stress headache), skipping meals, dehydration, medical diseases or conditions, anxiety, or changes at home, work, or school. Treatment of tension headaches include prescription and OTC medications, stress management, and treating any underlying illness or condition.
Tetanus is an often-fatal disease caused by nerve toxins produced by the common bacteria Clostridium tetani. In a 7-day period after infection, a person experiences muscle spasms, restlessness, headache, irritability, then lockjaw, and the lungs stop functioning. Tetanus is treatable with antibiotics and drainage. Sedation is often give to stop muscle spasms.
Ticks are known transmitters of disease to humans and animals. Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, tularemia, babesiosis, and Southern tick-associated rash illness. Infected ticks spread disease once they've bitten a host, allowing the pathogens in their saliva and mouth get into the host's skin and blood. Tick bites are typically painless, but the site of the bite may later itch, burn, turn red, and feel painful. Individuals allergic to tick bites may develop a rash, swelling, shortness of breath, numbness, or paralysis. Tick bite treatment involves cleaning and applying antibiotic cream.
A toothache is pain on or around a tooth. It may have a variety of causes, including a cavity, abscess, or even sinusitis. Toothache symptoms include pain, headache, earache, bad taste in the mouth, and gum swelling. Dental X-rays and other tests performed by a dentist are used to diagnose the cause of a toothache. Toothache treatment depends on the underlying cause. Taking proper care of the teeth and gums can help prevent toothache.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
Toxic shock syndrome is an infection that causes symptoms such as low blood pressure, fever, and a rash with peeling skin. Treatment involves IV fluids to treat the shock, IV antibiotics, cleaning infected wounds, and hospitalization in the intensive care for other assorted treatments.
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC)
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a rare genetic disease caused by defects on two genes. The signs and symptoms of TSC vary depending on which organs and systems are involved. Common symptoms include benign tumors, seizures, behavior problems, skin abnormalities, and cognitive impairment. TSC treatment focuses on alleviating the symptoms with medications, special schooling, surgery, supplemental oxygen therapy, lung transplantation, and occupational therapy.
Tularemia (rabbit fever) is an infection caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria. People can become infected with tularemia by coming into contact with infected animals or via a tick bite. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache and rash. Tularemia is treated with streptomycin or gentamicin.
Typhoid fever is an illness caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. The illness is contracted by ingesting the bacteria in contaminated water or food. Symptoms include headaches, fever, diarrhea, lethargy, aches and pains, and poor appetite. Treatment focuses on killing the Salmonella bacteria with antibiotics.
Typhus is a disease caused by Rickettsia bacteria. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. Antibiotics are recommended as the treatment for endemic and epidemic typhus infections.
Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) is a disease caused by the inhalation of the Coccidioides immitis or C. posadasii fungus. Symptoms are flu-like and resolve over two to six weeks. Infection typically requires no treatment, though there are many antifungal drugs to treat valley fever.
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is the most common type of infection acquired by patients while hospitalized. Patients at risk for VRE are those who are already ill, and hospitalized, including individuals with diabetes, elderly, ICU patients, kidney failure patients, or patients requiring catheters. Enterococci can survive for months in the digestive tract and female genital tract. Other risk factors for acquiring VRE include those how have been previously treated with vancomycin and combinations of other antibiotics. Treatment of VRE is generally with other antibiotics other than vancomycin. Prevention of VRE can be achieved by proper hand hygiene.
Vasculitis (Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Types)
Vasculitis (arteritis, angiitis) is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases which feature inflammation of the blood vessels. Each form of vasculitis has its own characteristic pattern of symptoms. The diagnosis of vasculitis is definitively established after a biopsy of involved tissue demonstrates the pattern of blood vessel inflammation. Treatment is directed toward decreasing the inflammation of the arteries and improving the function of affected organs.
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus (West Nile encephalitis) is a brain infection caused by a virus. People become infected with the virus after they're bitten by a mosquito that has fed off of a bird that's infected with the West Nile virus. Symptoms in humans include fever, headache, rash, body ache, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for a West Nile virus infection involves supportive care.
Yellow fever is an infectious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Side effects are rare with the yellow fever vaccine. Symptoms include fever, chills, back pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms.
Zika Virus (Zika Fever)
The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Symptoms and signs of a Zika virus infection include conjunctivitis, headache, joint pain, fever, rash, and muscle aches. Treatment for Zika virus infections aims to alleviate symptoms.
Examples of Medications for Headache
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- Benzodiazepines vs. Barbiturates
- Birth Control Pills (List of Oral Contraceptives and Side Effects)
- Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
- gabapentin (Neurontin)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- propranolol, Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
- sumatriptan, Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose System, Sumavel DosePro
- tacrolimus (Prograf, Astagraf XL, Envarsus XR)
- valproic acid, divalproex, Depakote, Depakote Sprinkle, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon, Stavzor
- Zecuity (sumatriptan iontophoretic patch)
- zolmitriptan (Zomig, Zomig-ZMT)
Migraines and Headaches Resources
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