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Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are a neurological condition that affects one side of the head and causes excruciating pain, affecting approximately one in every 1,000 people in the United States. Patients may have cluster headache attacks several times per day, with each attack lasting between 15 minutes and 3 hours.  It is not a rare disease; in fact, it is as common as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Cluster headache, unlike these two well-known neurological disorders, is prone to misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis because so many doctors are simply unaware of its existence. Males are twice as likely as females to suffer from cluster headaches. Symptoms typically appear between the ages of 20 and 40, with a mean age of onset of 30.

Headaches vary in pain levels, pain type, and frequency, and these details can indicate not only the types of headaches one is experiencing but also any issues a patient may be dealing with as well as the proper treatment plan they require. Some headaches, however, can be difficult to identify. According to a recent study, cluster headaches are frequently misdiagnosed or take much longer to diagnose. Because cluster headache patients are known to develop mental health issues, timely diagnoses and treatments are critical. The study discovered that a patient’s mental health suffered significantly because of a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Participants in the study were more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts and attempts. Cluster headaches are sometimes referred to as “suicide headaches” due to the suicidal thoughts that patients experience during an attack. Furthermore, a cluster headache misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis results in unnecessary procedures. This includes extractions of teeth and sinus washouts. Even pain relievers, which are commonly used to treat most types of headaches, are ineffective against cluster headaches. Injections of a drug called triptans and oxygen inhalation treatments are the most effective. Nonetheless, many doctors will not prescribe them. They may prescribe triptans, but only in an ineffective oral form. Finally, it was discovered that general practitioners will disregard a specialist’s advice by prescribing less expensive drugs instead of the injectable or nasal triptans prescribed by the specialist. As a result, mishandling a cluster headache diagnosis could endanger a patient.

Medical errors can occur at any point during the diagnosis and treatment process. As a result, it is critical that patients understand this and what they can do if medical malpractice is suspected. Filing a medical malpractice suit could be a wise decision. It not only holds a negligent medical professional accountable, but it also assists the patient in addressing the harms and losses caused by it.  Call our office if you or someone you care about was misdiagnosed or failed to be diagnosed with cluster headaches by a healthcare provider.  Our highly experienced medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to help you collect the compensation you deserve.  We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.

Cluster headaches are more common at night than during the day, and they are more common in the spring and fall. Headaches also frequently occur at the same time each day. The headaches typically last 30 minutes but can last up to two hours and in rare cases longer. A cluster headache is characterized by intense, agonizing pain that affects only one side of the head. The area of the head or face involved is always the same from day to day, but it occasionally switches to the opposite side before the cluster ends. With the next wave of attacks, the cluster may switch sides. The pain typically begins in the eye socket and spreads to the face, temples, and/or forehead. The headache is often better tolerated by moving, pacing, rocking, or even banging their head, rather than remaining still. They may become agitated and aggressive. Excessive watering of the eyes and nose on the same side of the head as the pain is another symptom. Facial sweating, nasal congestion, drooping eyelids, and swelling of the eyelids are also common symptoms. Patients rarely report seeing an aura or other visual disturbances before an attack. After the headache has passed, the affected person may fall into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by another headache. This can happen several times per day and can last for weeks or months. Some people may be unable to maintain a regular work schedule.

While the underlying cause of CH is unknown, the direct cause of pain is caused by blood vessel dilation, which puts pressure on the trigeminal nerve. PET scans have recently revealed activity in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for circadian rhythms, or the biological clock, during CH attacks. This supports a previous theory that the hypothalamus is the source of cluster headaches. It is also important to note that both alcohol and smoking can act as triggers and cause attacks in people who have CH.

At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our medical malpractice attorneys are committed to advocating on your behalf and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Having an experienced Upstate New York medical malpractice attorney on your side is the best way to ensure that your interests and your rights are protected while you concentrate on healing.  Our attorneys have won cases for our clients across the Upstate New York area, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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