World's hottest chili pepper tied to 'thunderclap' headache

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Extremely painful migraines can be caused by the consumption of the world's strongest pepper, the Carolina Reaper.

The Carolina Reaper definitely isn't your average chili pepper - it's the hottest chili pepper on the planet. In comparison, a jalapeño has a spiciness of about 5,000 SHU and a habanero has 200,000 SHU. BMJ describes the headaches as "crushingly painful". However, eating cayenne pepper has been linked to heart attacks and a narrowing of the blood vessels in the heart, known as coronary vasospasm, according to the report. The man began experiencing very rare "thunderclap" headaches - that's the medical term for a headache that escalates suddenly and staggeringly with maximum pain experienced in 60 seconds or less.

In a previous case, doctors in California discovered that a man had developed a one-inch hole in his esophagus after eating a ghost pepper, said to be the world's second-most spicy pepper, in a contest (noticing a trend here?).

The patient told doctors he did not have any focal tingling sensation or weakness, slurred speech, or transient loss of vision.

"But "then CT angiography was done, which showed narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain", said Kulothungan Gunasekaran", an internal medicine physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and a lead author of the report [he was not involved in the patient's treatment though]. Pepper spray has 2 million SHU. "It was so severe, it made him come to the ER".

The CT scan revealed that several arteries of his brain had severely constricted, prompting the diagnosis of thunderclap headache secondary to reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS).

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For some, they can strike during orgasm, Professor Parsons said: "Blood pressure rises and an artery ruptures".

It comes after a participant in the U.S. turned up at an emergency department suffering excruciatingly painful "thunderclap" headaches.

Often this is related to severe reactions to prescription medications or the use of illegal drugs.

This is the first case to be associated with eating chili peppers.

The headaches soon cleared up, and a scan five weeks later showed his arteries were back to normal.

The researchers said this is the first such case linked with eating hot chili peppers, but they noted that consuming cayenne pepper has always been associated with a sudden narrowing of the coronary artery and heart attacks.

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