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New-Onset Cluster Headache in Middle-Age and Elderly Women
Mosek A, Hering-Hanit R, Kuritzky A.
Posted: March 2003  
Cephalalgia 2001; 21:198-200

Cluster headache is usually considered to affect young men. We hereby report on new-onset cluster headache in middle-aged and elderly women. We performed a retrospective chart review of female patients diagnosed with cluster headache and studied the charts of women in whom the headache started after the age of 50 years. Out of 168 patients (26 women) diagnosed with cluster headache, the headache started after the age of 50 years in seven women, of whom three reported past tension-type or migraine headaches. The age range at the beginning of the headache was 52-72 years. In all cases, the pain was severe, strictly unilateral, and accompanied by at least one autonomic symptom. The average duration of the pain was 70 minutes, recurring daily for an average period of 7 weeks. Five patients had 1-2 pain attacks each day, while the other two experienced up to eight episodes of pain in 1 day. In two patients the periodicity of the pain was currently undetermined. In the remainder, the headache periods recurred every 1-4 years. Cluster headache is commonly considered to be a young male disorder, but middle-aged and elderly women may also be affected. The characteristics of the pain and its manner of occurrence were similar in our cases to those reported in the young male population.