Carolina Reaper pepper causes thunderclap headache
  • venynxvenynx April 2018

    The Carolina Reaper is the stuff of internet legend, from ghastly YouTube videos to testimonials in gourmet cooking magazines.Find the more healthcare news from SHINE.

    Now this pepper, billed as the world’s hottest, has made it into a medical journal.

    Eating this fiery pepper can cause a “thunderclap” headache, doctors
    reported Monday. The headache was the result of an unusual blood vessel
    condition called reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS),
    doctors reported in the British Medical Journal’s Case Reports. They
    described the case of a 34-year-old man who ate a Carolina Reaper hot
    pepper in a contest.

    “His symptoms began with dry heaves but no vomiting immediately after
    participation in a hot pepper contest where he ate one ‘Carolina
    Reaper,’ the hottest chili pepper in the world,” Dr. Kulothungan
    Gunasekaran of the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York, and
    colleagues wrote.

    “Then he developed an intense headache,” they added. “The pain was
    excruciating and thus he came to the ER.”Thunderclap headaches are
    severe headaches and come on very fast. They can be a sign of a brain
    hemorrhage or a stroke, so doctors take them very seriously.

    Brain scans showed the pepper-eater wasn’t suffering from a stroke, but a major artery in his brain had narrowed.That’s
    never been diagnosed after eating hot peppers before, but Turkish
    doctors have reported a heart attack in a young man who took cayenne
    pepper pills.Hot peppers deliver capsaicin, the compound that gives them their “heat”. It can affect blood vessels.

    “Given the development of symptoms immediately after exposure to a
    known vasoactive substance, it is plausible that our patient had RCVS
    secondary to the ‘Carolina Reaper’,” Gunasekaran and colleagues
    wrote.Eating hot peppers can cause people to vomit and can lead to
    severe heartburn but the pain is rarely serious. Capsaicin can, in some
    cases, relieve pain and may help people keep weight off.

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