Symptoms You Should Never Ignore – Head

5/20: Constant Headaches

Don’t Worry:

A headache is chronic if it occurs more than 15 days a month, for a minimum of three months—but it doesn’t take that long for them to become, well, a headache. Common triggers are dehydration, sleep deprivation, vision problems, sinus congestion, poor posture while working at a desk and hangovers—all of which have straightforward solutions.

Do Worry:

If you’ve ruled out all of the above, it’s worth a call to your doctor for more investigation, especially if you find yourself taking over-the-counter pain relievers more than twice a week. Ultimately, you may not discover the cause—this is true for many people who suffer from headaches—but medication, dietary changes and certain supplements can help.Also, your health care provider should examine you for signs of stroke, cancer or brain injury, such as weakness on one side, unequal pupil sizes, and cognitive changes like confusion or memory loss.

6/30: Ringing in Your Ears

Don’t Worry:

I have this.. it’s called tinnitus and it’s mainly just annoying.

What is it? Is that high-pitched droning, buzzing or whooshing sound coming from inside your own head? Tinnitus is surprisingly common—43 per cent of Canadians have experienced it at some point. It most often lasts a few minutes, hours or days, but sometimes it lasts forever. The most common cause is hearing loss, whether temporary—from a loud noise, for example—or permanent, as with aging (three-quarters of people over 70 have hearing loss to some degree).Although it’s not a medical emergency, tinnitus can affect quality of life in the long term—Ludwig van Beethoven had it so bad in his 30s, he contemplated suicide. “It’s not a very well understood phenomenon,” says Dr. Vance Tran, a family physician in Pickering, Ont., “but we think it has something to do with how we experience transmissions from a damaged auditory nervous system as sound.”Have your primary care provider look inside your ears, as tinnitus can sometimes be caused by an obstruction, like earwax buildup. If the cause is age-related hearing loss, the good news is that it can be treated with a hearing aid.

Do Worry:

If the noise is rhythmic or pulsing, see your doctor right away. That can be a sign of narrowing in the carotid artery near your temple, which puts you at risk for stroke. Surgery may be needed to clear any blockages.

7/20: Ache in Your Ear

Don’t Worry:

As any new parent can tell you, ear infections are the bane of early childhood. But an earache in an adult warrants closer investigation, since run-of-the-mill infections are less common. In fact, the culprit may not even be in your ears at all. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which causes inflammation or dislocation in the jaw joint, is often called a “great impostor” for the way it can mimic other health conditions—and more than 70 per cent of people who suffer from it report ear symptoms, according to one 2019 Swedish study. If you have pain in one or both ears but don’t have a fever, discharge or other signs of infection, see a dentist and ask them to check for signs of tooth wear or any popping or clicking in your jaw. A mouth guard, Botox injections to relax the jaw muscles, or physiotherapy may help.

Do Worry:

More rarely, a complication from shingles called Ramsay Hunt syndrome can affect the facial nerve near one ear, causing painful blisters inside the ear canal, hearing loss and even facial paralysis. It’s diagnosed from a characteristic red rash on the affected side of the face, and treated with antiviral medications.


Based on an article in Reader’s Digest byAnna-Kaisa Walker

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