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Headaches are a common medical condition that affects nearly everyone at one time or another. It is estimated that more than 30 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches.

The majority of headaches last only a few hours, but some can persist for weeks. There are different types of headaches including migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches, says Dr. Alan Deckard, associate professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. He describes the various types of headaches.

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Dr. Deckard says migraine headaches are more severe. They tend to begin gradually and often are accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can be triggered by certain foods and alcohol. He offers some treatments options.

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Dr. Deckard says for migraines most physicians recommend medications called triptans. Anyone who has a sudden serious headache that is accompanied by vomiting or vision problems should see their primary care physician or go to the hospital emergency room immediately. A sudden headache can signal a stroke.

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