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"Can hunger headaches harm you?"

ZocdocAnswersCan hunger headaches harm you?


I am a woman in my mid thirties and because I am a workaholic, sometimes I go for long periods without having my first meal of the day. When I start to feel the headache it is usually too late. Even after I eat or take pain killers to ease the pain, it persists for the rest of the day.


I am sorry you are having such frequent headaches. To answer your primary question, so-called "hunger headaches" are a common problem attributed to low blood sugar levels from lack of eating. As you are experiencing, these headaches often come on in settings where you have not eaten for many hours and can persist well beyond a meal. The chronic effects of low blood sugar levels are not known as this has not been systematically studied, and while prolonged starvation can lead to deleterious effects on the heart and brain, short periods of delayed meals are not of concern as long as the headache resolves completely. That said, headaches can be a serious symptom in certain circumstances, and treatment strategies vary depending on the type of headache. Your headaches last for a long time, and could be migraines, which are not usually dangerous but often require special types of therapy. Headaches that do not go away, that are associated with nausea or vomiting, that are very severe or intense, or that are associated with difficulty moving or speaking can be some of the symptoms that may be concerning for a serious or life-threatening type of headaches. Since diagnosis without an in-person consultation is not possible, I suggest you make an appointment with your primary care

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