Hottest chilli gives man a world-record headache

Ed Currie holds three Carolina Reaper peppers in Fort Mill S.C. Last month The Guinness Book of World Records decided Currie’s peppers were the hottest on Earth ending a more than four-year drive to prove no one grows

The Carolina Reaper was recognised as the hottest chilli in the world in 2013 by Guinness World Records, with a Scoville heat rating of 1.6 million.

The Carolina Reaper can be found around the Rock Hill area of SC in the United States. By comparison a Jalapeño pepper scores 2,500-5,000, while a Scotch Bonnet pepper is ‎100,000-400,000.

He then developed crushingly painful headaches and at one point he chose to go to the emergency room.

"We would not advise against eating hot peppers at this time, but we would recommend the public be cautious about these adverse effects". The first symptoms started right after he ate the pepper, but intensified as he experienced flashes of excruciating headaches, each lasting for a few seconds.

The Carolina Pepper-eating victim began dry heaving immediately after trying the chilli, the report's authors said.

Daredevils who enjoy torturing their mouths with spicy chili peppers can expect a number of unpleasant symptoms: burning mouth, running nose, teary eyes, coughing, stomach pain, even vomiting.

While most RCVS patients do well, she added, a minority can have such severe blood vessel spasms that they die.

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However, a CT scan revealed that several arteries in the man's brain had narrowed, leading to a diagnosis of thunderclap headache due to reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS). The thunderclap headaches reoccurred over the next few days. His blood pressure was a little high, but not extremely so, at 134/69 mmHg.

"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].

The most likely one of these is a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a stroke caused by bleeding on the brain which is present in up to 25 per cent of cases. RVS is rare and typically associated with specific medications or illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines - not hot peppers.

The doctor who saw the man cautioned anybody eating chilli peppers and experience sudden headaches to seek medical attention at once, according to a BBC report.

FYI: What is Carolina Reaper?

Scans of his head and neck showed the kind of constriction in some arteries that can cause intense headaches, doctors reported on Monday in BMJ Case Reports.

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