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WCN 2023 | Misdiagnosis and mistreatment of cluster headache

Rigmor Hojland Jensen, MD, from University of Copenhagen, Glostrup, Denmark, comments on the reasons for misdiagnosis of cluster headaches and the progress which has been made in decreasing the time to diagnosis in patients with this condition. As cluster headaches are short lasting attacks, often occuring at night, individuals may underestimate the severity of the disease and fail to seek medical advice for many years. It is often difficult for patients to describe how they feel during an attack or they may not remember the details of the pain episode. Misdiagnosis may also occur due to the common misconception that women suffer with migraines and men with cluster headaches, when, in reality, biological sex does not impact on the ability of an individual to experience cluster headaches. It is important to provide individuals with a diagnosis to ensure the appropriate treatment is given to decrease disease burden and manage pain during episodes. Dr Jensen highlights the importance of education in cluster headache diagnosis and encourages the use of the internet and social media to spread information about the condition. This interview took place at the World Congress of Neurology (WCN) 2023 in Montreal, Canada.

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