Atypical Recent Headaches

What Causes Recent Unusual Headaches?

Recent unusual headaches can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose recent unusual headaches, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "recent unusual headaches" as a symptom.  Here are five possibilities:
  • Brain Tumor
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Infectious Mononucleosis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • West Nile Virus

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
very foul-smelling flatulence
blood transfusions
black/brown fingernails
Latin / Hispanic ethnicity
loss of appetite
frequent painful cervical nodes
recent onset vomiting
multiple painful axillary nodes
having had many sexual partners
chronic headaches
mild abdominal discomfort
brain cancer
... and more than 60 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of recent unusual headaches:
Cause Probability Status
Brain Tumor 98% Confirm
Gastroenteritis 20% Unlikely
HIV/AIDS 1% Ruled out
West Nile Virus 1% Ruled out
Infectious Mononucleosis 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Metabolic Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about atypical recent headaches:
Have you experienced any unusual headaches within the past month?
Possible responses:
→ They are ongoing / don't know
→ No
→ Yes, one/some that have now resolved
→ Yes, I am having mild to moderate headaches
→ Yes, I am having severe headaches
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate absence of atypical recent headaches, resolved atypical recent headaches or current atypical headaches, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
HIV/AIDS

Severe headaches can be a symptom of AIDS.  Some people get a flu-like illness within a month or two after first getting HIV.  The flu-like symptoms often go away within a week, and include fever, headache, fatigue (being a lot more tired than usual, and all the time), swollen lymph nodes (glands in the neck and groin).

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