A migraine is a complex condition which has a severe headache as its main feature. It is a neurological disease felt on one side of the head or the front of it. It usually occurs as a result of constriction of blood vessels of the head or neck. It is the 3rd most prevalent and 6th most disabling illness in the world. As troubling as it is, it is so widely suffered that 1 in every 4 U. S. household has at least one person who suffers it. It is most common with persons between the ages 25 and 55, and about 90% of sufferers have a family history of it. It affects over 37 million Americans. It has a wide variety of symptoms, some of which are photophobia, phonophobia, light-headedness, distorted vision, scalp tenderness, nasal congestion, diarrhea, muscle weakness, dizziness, nausea, numbness, speech and language difficulty. The symptoms vary from person to person, and different symptoms could be felt by an individual at different times. The two main types of migraine are
- migraine with aura
- migraine without aura
Other common types are
- menstrual migraine
- abdominal migraine
- hemiplegic migraine
- chronic migraine
- migraine with brain stem aura
Each migraine attack lasts 4-72 hours with grave effects on patients’ well-being. An attack could be in four phases: Prodrome, Aura, Headache Phase, and Postdrome. Not all patients experience all these stages. The pain is so severe that the effects extend to affect patients’ attention to work and family due to its severity. Having a migraine also affects other physical and mental areas of patients` lives.
What causes migraine?
As many as the symptoms of migraine are, so are its triggers. Various factors trigger migraine, hence, patients need, with the help of a doctor, to pay attention to their lifestyle to pinpoint possible triggers of migraine in their case. These triggers aren’t uncommon things; many of them are our daily activities. It makes us see why we need to be deliberate about, and sensitive to the things we eat, drink and do generally. Of the many triggers that exist, here are seven common ones.
Insufficient sleep and poor sleep habits such as regular sleep interruptions trigger migraine. They arouse a high level of proteins in the nervous system to the extent that pain, usually a severe headache is experienced. This, over time, gets chronic, leading to migraine.
Anxiety, agony, worry, and even excitement trigger migraine. When you experience a stress event, a number of certain chemicals are released by the brain to deal with the situation. These chemicals severely intensify vascular changes which lead to migraine.
A change of diet may result in fluctuations in blood sugars and vitamin levels. This may lead to migraine. When dieting, do ensure you drink enough water to reduce the risk of having migraine.
People who have desk jobs are at risk of migraine as they consistently make continuous views into books and computers for long hours under fluorescent lights. This involves straining the eyes and leads to headaches and fatigue. This over time, leads to migraine. You might also need to wear sunglasses when under the sun to reduce direct contact with sunlight which also makes you strain your eyes.
About 80% of people who suffer chronic migraine are women. Physiological changes in women during their menstrual cycle cause migraine for some. In fact, for some, migraine accompanied their first period. About 1 in every 4 women will experience a type of migraine in their lifetime. Mapping your menstrual cycle and using pain medications for relief could be a way to resolve this, or at least reduce the pain. Medical attention will help more.
Migraine could be caused by allergies to certain foods. Identifying the particular foods that trigger migraine could be somewhat challenging but is possible. Medical attention does help much in resolving this. Common food allergies that trigger migraine are associated with nuts, meat, cheese, and chocolates. Allergy to caffeine and alcohol also trigger migraine.
Preservatives and sweeteners
Records of migraine patients do show that some preservatives such as monosodium, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame trigger migraine. Abstinence from these may be helpful in tracing the cause of migraine.
Now that you know, you might want to prevent migraine than have it then try to detect its trigger(s). People living with it need proper medical attention and painstaking consciousness of their lifestyle. It is advisable that migraine sufferers stay away from triggers, endeavor to get enough rest, avoid stressful activities, and do a lot of exercises.