Monday, 10 December, 2018

Then the "thunderclap" headaches started

Pods of the Carolina Reaper pepper are seen in Pods of the Carolina Reaper pepper are seen in
Samantha Long | 11 April, 2018, 04:50

The Carolina Reaper, the world's hottest chili pepper, can produce painful thunderclap headaches by narrowing the brain arteries when eaten, according to BMJ Case Reports.

It was so bad the man went to the emergency room, where doctors quickly tried to figure out if he was bleeding in the brain.

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, can trigger the frightening condition.

If you're thinking of entering a hot chili pepper eating contest, you might want to think twice, doctors caution.

Shortly after the 34-year-old man ate a Carolina Reaper chilli - which, by some estimates, is 500 times hotter than Tabasco sauce - at a chilli-eating competition, he was struck by crushingly painful headaches. With these thunderclap episodes continuing over several days, the man headed to the ER.

It also stated that an unusual blood vessel condition called reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) results in severe pain. It may sometimes lead to a stroke. His symptoms cleared up on their own, and within five weeks his brain appeared normal.

It started out just like any other medical case...

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He felt dry heaves and experiencing the unknown chilli in the hot-pepper eating world. His blood pressure was a little high, but not extremely so, at 134/69 mmHg. While those side effects may not be uncommon after consuming ultra-hot peppers, things quickly escalated.

It happens instantaneously. If that kind of headache hits you, it makes sense to seek medical attention "whether youve bitten into a pepper or not", Newman said.

The researchers said this is the first such case linked with eating hot chili peppers, but they noted that consuming cayenne pepper has always been associated with a sudden narrowing of the coronary artery and heart attacks.

RCVS should be considered as a potential cause of thunderclap headache after most common causes are ruled out including subarachnoid haemorrhage, cerebral vein thrombosis, and cervical artery dissection.

Energy supplements are another potential cause of RCVS, Dr. Rula A. Hajj-Ali of Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine told Reuters Health by phone. "But the mortality is low, around 2% ... and most patients who die from RCVS are young women and often in the postpartum state".

Luckily for him, all of the tests they performed came back negative.

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