Q: What is migraine like for elderly people?
A: Both men and women with migraine can expect to see their attacks decrease in frequency in their later years. After menopause, the frequency of migraine attacks significantly decreases unless the individual is experiencing medication overuse headache or if migraine was not associated with menopause. If migraine attacks seem to increase or reappear late in life, another medical problem may be aggravating the migraine condition.
Q: How can other medical problems in elderly people aggravate migraine?
A: Medications used to treat medical conditions that commonly occur in elderly people may trigger migraine attacks. Medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, and urinary tract problems are among those that may trigger migraine attacks.
Q: Can I start having headaches in my “golden years?”
A: It is so rare for migraine to start after the age of 55 that the onset of headaches after this age is almost always a signal that another medical condition is present. If you are over 55 and start having headaches it is unlikely, although not impossible, that the cause is migraine. It is very important that you see your doctor about the headaches.
Q: If migraine is unlikely then what could cause headaches to start after the age of 55?
A: Headaches late in life may be associated with life-threatening conditions such as brain tumors, aneurysms (weakened, bulging areas in an artery wall), or inflammation of arteries. General medical problems connected with aging, such as heart disease, lung problems, thyroid disease, and many other illnesses can also be associated with the symptom of headache.
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