CAN EATING CHILLI PEPPERS CAUSE RCVS?
Biting into the “world’s hottest pepper” sounds painful enough, but for one man who entered a chili-pepper-eating contest, the daring feat was followed by excruciating headaches known as “thunderclap” headaches. The 34-year-old man ate a Carolina Reaper, which is considered the hottest chili pepper in the world, according to the report published in the British Medical Journal.
After eating the pepper, the man developed intense pain in his neck and in the back of his head. And over the next few days, he went through several episodes of brief but excruciating headaches, or thunderclap headaches, which strike suddenly and peak within 60 seconds. Doctors determined that the man’s headaches were caused by a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), in which a person’s brain arteries temporarily narrow. This is the first time that doctors have reported a link between eating chili peppers and RCVS, the report said. The man’s symptoms improved without any specific treatment.
WHAT IS REVERSIBLE CEREBRAL VASOCONSTRICTION SYNDROME?
Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome represents a group of conditions that show reversible multifocal narrowing of the cerebral arteries with clinical manifestations that typically include thunderclap headache and sometimes include neurologic deficits related to brain edema, stroke, or seizure. The clinical outcome is usually benign, although major strokes can result in severe disability and death in a minority. These conditions are characterized by clinical manifestations that typically include thunderclap headache and less commonly focal neurologic deficits related to brain edema, stroke, or seizure, and angiographic reversible multifocal narrowing of the cerebral arteries.
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