HIV Patients Commonly Suffer From Headaches
]Severe headaches plague about half of HIV patients in the United States, HealthDay News reported. According to a study from the University of Mississippi, about 27.5 percent of the 200 HIV/AIDS patients monitored suffered “chronic migraine” for 15 or more days a month.
By contrast, that kind of headache is experienced by only two percent of the general population.
“This translates into a 13-fold increased risk of chronic migraine among patients with HIV disease,” said study author Todd Smitherman of the university’s psychology department. “The strongest predictor of headache was the severity of HIV disease, such that patients with more advanced disease had more frequent, more severe and more disabling migraines.”
In addition to the 200 Montgomery, Alabama HIV patients, Smitherman and his team looked at medical records of people with HIV/AIDS to find evidence of chronic migraine. Their findings should refocus attention on HIV and help motivate better treatment of such individuals, the team said in a university press release.
“Recent research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, despite the availability of medications that effectively slow disease progression, most Americans with HIV do not have the disease under control,” Smitherman explained. “Our study shows that patients with poorly controlled HIV/AIDS are most prone to suffer also from frequent, severe migraines at rates that far exceed those of the general population.”
He and his team recommend that doctors caring for HIV/AIDS patients play closer attention to headache symptoms and monitor the immune system with increased regularity.