Cluster headache: Introduction
A cluster headache is a type of headache that is severe and recurring and generally occurs on one side of the head. Cluster headaches occur in "clusters" of episodes that recur over days or weeks. Cluster headaches can be severe enough to disrupt everyday life, such as work, school, relationships, and social activities. Additional symptoms of cluster headaches can affect the eye and nose as well. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of cluster headache.
Cluster headaches are often, but not always, triggered by one or more specific substances or situations. These can vary from person to person. Common triggers include alcohol, stress, smoking, hormonal changes, diseases of the hypothalamus, changing the normal sleep pattern, and certain medications, such as nitroglycerin. Cluster headaches are more common in men than in women.
Making a diagnosis of cluster headache includes performing a complete evaluation that includes a medical history, including symptoms, and physical examination. This includes a neurological examination. A neurological exam evaluates the brain and nerves and such functions as level of consciousness, reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing.
Because cluster headaches may cause redness of the eye on the affected side, an eye examination is performed to rule-out such eye conditions as conjunctivitis. Other tests, such as CT scan of the brain, may be performed to help rule-out more serious neurological diseases and conditions with similar symptoms, such as stroke. In some cases, a referral to a neurologist, a specialist in treating neurological conditions, may be needed for definitive diagnosis and treatment of cluster headaches.
The diagnostic process also involves keeping a cluster headache log or diary to record the timing, symptoms, and the types of situations that occurred or substances that were ingested before the cluster headache occurred. This can help to diagnose triggers and assist in making lifestyle changes that can minimize cluster headaches. The type of treatment and its results are also recorded to help pinpoint the most effective treatment for an individual.
It is possible that a diagnosis of cluster headache can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other conditions and diseases, such as migraine, stroke and sinusitis. For more information on diseases and conditions that can mimic cluster headache, refer to misdiagnosis of cluster headache.
Patient compliance with a good treatment plan can control symptoms of cluster headaches to a degree that allows a person to live a normal active life. Treatment plans include medications and avoiding substances and situations that can trigger a cluster headache. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of cluster headache. ...more »
Cluster headache: Headache that occurs periodically, with active periods interrupted by spontaneous remissions.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Cluster headache is available below.
Cluster headache: Symptoms
Symptoms of a cluster headache include a severe and recurring headache that occurs on one side of the head and is often focused in and around the eye. Cluster headaches generally start suddenly and occur in "clusters" of episodes that recur over days or weeks. Each episode can last from 15 minutes to several hours. These episodes recur regularly ...more symptoms »
Cluster headache: Treatments
The most effective treatment plan for cluster headache uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific triggers, frequency, and severity of the cluster headache, the patient's age, medical history, and other factors.
Treatment of cluster headache begins with prevention. This includes diagnosing and avoiding the ...more treatments »
Cluster headache: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of cluster headache may be overlooked or delayed because cluster episodes may not occur very often. In addition, some symptoms, such as severe headache, red eyes, and runny nose, can mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as a stroke, meningitis, transient ischemia attack, tension headache, brain tumor, sinusitis, upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis, ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Cluster headache
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symptoms of Cluster headache
Treatments for Cluster headache
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treatments for Cluster headache
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Cluster headache:
- Nerve Neuropathy: Related Home Testing:
Wrongly Diagnosed with Cluster headache?
Cluster headache: Related Patient Stories
Cluster headache: Deaths
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Cluster headache: Complications
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Causes of Cluster headache
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Disease Topics Related To Cluster headache
Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Cluster headache:
Cluster headache: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Cluster headache
Migraine an undiagnosed cause of headache: It is surprising that many migraine sufferers are not
initially diagnosed. Although the condition is fairly well known, there are also many other ...read more »
Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps,
particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes.
However, there are also various other causes....read more »
Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms
of severe brain injury are hard to miss,
it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild concussion diagnosis.
The...read more »
MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms
such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked.
This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI),...read more »
Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had
suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return.
A variety of symptoms can occur in post-concussion syndrome and these...read more »
Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be
correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients.
These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children.
See ...read more »
Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms
that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders).
For example, ...read more »
Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency
is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Cluster headache
Cluster headache: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
- Nerve Specialists:
- Pain Specialists:
- Arthritis & Joint Health Specialists (Rheumatology):
- more specialists...»
Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:
Cluster headache: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Latest Treatments for Cluster headache
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latest treatments for Cluster headache
Evidence Based Medicine Research for Cluster headache
Medical research articles related to Cluster headache include:
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Cluster headache: Animations
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Prognosis for Cluster headache
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Research about Cluster headache
Visit our research pages for current research about Cluster headache treatments.
Clinical Trials for Cluster headache
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Cluster headache include:
See full list of 9
Clinical Trials for Cluster headache
Prevention of Cluster headache
Prevention information for Cluster headache has been compiled from various data sources
and may be inaccurate or incomplete.
None of these methods guarantee prevention of Cluster headache.
Read more about prevention of Cluster headache
Statistics for Cluster headache
Cluster headache: Broader Related Topics
Types of Cluster headache
Cluster headache Message Boards
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Definitions of Cluster headache:
A syndrome characterized by daily episodes of intense periorbital pain that recur over a period of 6-12 weeks that may be followed by a period of remission of months to years. The pain is non-throbbing, has a duration of 30-60 minutes and tends to occur at night or at regular intervals during the day. Unilateral rhinorrhea, conjunctival injection, lacrimation, facial flushing, and miosis frequently accompany the headaches, which primarily affect young adult males. (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p181)
- (Source - Diseases Database)
A painful recurring headache associated with the release of histamine from cells
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
Ophanet, a consortium of European partners,
currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000.
They list Cluster headache as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet
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