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Cluster Headache FAQs (cont.)

Who gets cluster headaches?

Cluster headaches affect less than 1% of the population. Many more men than women suffer from them. (The male-to-female ratio may be as much as 5-8:1.) Most people have their first cluster headache during their mid twenties, although some have the first attacks in their teens or early fifties. Most people seem to have their most frequent attacks during middle age.

People who get cluster headaches often have a distinctive face. Typically, they are tall and rugged looking and have the following features:

  • Leonine (lionlike) facial appearance

  • Thickened skin with lots of very noticeable wrinkles

  • Broad chin

  • Vertical forehead creases

  • Nasal telangiectases (lesions formed by widened capillaries or small arteries)

    • These are largely the result of long-term heavy smoking.

    • Smoking worsens cluster headache symptoms.

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