Important Facts About Migraine
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Migraine is a throbbing headache, often only experienced on one side of the head and may be accompanied by sensitivity to light or sound and nausea or vomiting.
It affects women more than men and can be extremely debilitating often preventing the sufferer from continuing with normal daily activities.
This article touches briefly on the different types, causes, treatments and prevention and aims to give some insight into the condition.
There are several different types of migraine. Common migraine is the headache as described above. The pain is frequently made worse by movement and sufferers generally want to rest and keep still in a quiet, darkened room. It can last from 4 up to 72 hours.
In classical migraine the headache is preceded by an aura, which may take the form of visual disturbance, tingling or pins and needles or problems with coordination. Typically the aura lasts between 15 minutes and an hour and occasionally people can experience the aura without a headache.
Abdominal migraine often occurs in children and is characterized by episodic attacks of abdominal pain which may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Usually there is no headache.
There are other rare forms of migraine but these are the main types.
The cause of migraine is believed to be the release of chemicals in the body, which affect the neurotransmitters and blood vessels in the brain. Exactly why this happens is not known however factors have been identified which can trigger attacks in susceptible people. These include emotional stress, physical stress, environmental factors, certain foods and hormonal factors.
Often it is a combination of triggers that precipitate the headache.
Migraine can affect people of all ages, social classes races and cultures. It is however most prevalent between the ages of 20 and 50 years and two thirds of those affected are women. There may be a genetic predisposition as the condition often runs in families.
There is no cure for migraine but the condition can be helped with a variety of treatments and lifestyle changes.
Over the counter painkillers such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can give some immediate relief.
Anti sickness medicines are often prescription only and should be obtained from your doctor who can also prescribe stronger painkillers and migraine specific drugs.
Very frequent attacks may require long-term preventative treatment from your doctor. Such treatments rarely frightinate migraine but can reduce the frequency and or severity of the attacks.
Apart from avoiding triggers to which you know you are sensitive it is important for migraine sufferers to eat regularly and include plenty of slow release carbohydrates foods in their diet. Sugary snacks should be avoided.
Drink plenty of water and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Regular exercise, regular sleep pattern and plenty of fresh air are also important.
Wear sunglasses or a hat in bright sunlight and if you work at a VDU take regular breaks.
Learning to relax and leading a healthy lifestyle are also helpful. It takes some effort but with time it should be possible to manage the condition effectively.