Common triggers for headaches

Headaches can be a nuisance unlike any other. When suffering from headache, it’s not uncommon for individuals to experience difficulty concentrating and many people also find it hard to sleep.

Headache is a significant issue for adults across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, as much as 4 percent of the world’s adult population experiences headache on 15 or more days each month.

The prevalence of headaches can make it seem as though they’re inevitable. However, many headache triggers are the byproducts of lifestyle choices individuals make. The following are some common headache triggers, many of which can be avoided by individuals who want to try to reduce the frequency with which they experience headaches.

– Alcohol: According to the health care experts at the Mount Sinai Health System, ethanol is the key ingredient in alcohol. Ethanol is a diuretic that causes the body to lose salt, vitamins and minerals. When consumed in excess, alcohol can contribute to dehydration and chemical imbalances in the brain that lead to headaches. Headaches resulting from the overconsumption of alcohol can last anywhere from hours to days. Mount Sinai recommends individuals who suffer from headaches to avoid alcohol.

– Allergies: The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology notes that there are occasions when allergies can contribute to headaches. For example, individuals with rhinitis, often referred to as “hay fever,”can experience headaches that may result from sinus disease in and around the nasal passages. Individuals who feel their headaches could be a byproduct of allergies can consult with an allergist for tips on how to treat their allergies and potentially reduce the frequency of their headaches.

– Caffeine: Mount Sinai notes that the relationship between caffeine and headaches is complicated. Over-the-counter headache medicines commonly include caffeine because it helps the body absorb the medication more quickly, leading to faster relief. However, overstimulation from caffeine is a common headache trigger. Individuals can speak with their physicians about their caffeine consumption, including how much is too much. Limiting such consumption could reduce the frequency of headaches.

– Smoking: Even nonsmokers can suffer from smoking-related headaches. The Cleveland Clinic reports that nicotine, which is the primary ingredient in tobacco products, may stimulate pain-sensitive nerves as it passes through the back of the throat. That stimulation contributes to headaches in some people, including the people smoking as well as those around them who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Avoiding tobacco and urging smokers around you to quit or to avoid smoking in your presence may reduce instances of headache.

Mount Sinai notes that light sensitivity, especially high blood pressure and hormonal imbalances are some additional headache triggers. Individuals suffering from routine headaches are urged to contact their physicians.

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