Headache in an elderly patient can be a sign of serious, potentially life-threatening disorders. All patients require a full assessment, including a complete neurologic examination. Particular emphasis should be placed on excluding subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, giant cell arteritis, intracranial neoplasm, cerebrovascular accident, acute-angle-closure glaucoma, and infectious etiologies such as meningitis and encephalitis. Once life-threatening disorders are excluded, the geriatrician can focus on more benign etiologies such as migraine, tension headache, and medication withdrawal. Treatment depends on the underlying etiology. This article discusses headaches that require emergent treatment and then describes more benign etiologies of headaches.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology