Migraine is an extraordinarily prevalent disease. Most people don’t realize how serious and incapacitating migraine can be. Nearly 30 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches. The World Health Organization suggests half to three quarters of adults aged 18–65 years in the world have had headache in the last year and, among those individuals, 30% or more have reported migraine.. A migraine is a neurological syndrome consisting of a variety of symptoms that can be traced, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, to inheriting genes that regulate the function of specific groups of brain cells, nerves, and blood vessels in the brain. The agony of a single migraine headache usually lasts only a few hours or days. But the health effects of chronic migraines can linger. Symptoms of a migraine vary from person to person. Attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following disabling symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell. Over time, most people become familiar with their own migraine attacks. They know what to expect. Sometimes, though a migraine may become an emergency.
Although migraine emergencies aren’t common, they can happen. A type of migraine called ophthalmoplegic migraine can cause eye paralysis. A rare, severe type of migraine called status migrainosus is a severe type of migraine that can last for days and require hospitalization. Also be aware of these headache emergencies: a headache that comes on suddenly and keeps getting worse could be a stroke. A headache that follows a head injury could mean there’s bleeding in your brain. Acute glaucoma can cause throbbing behind the eye with vision changes. Temporal arteritis can cause severe pain and tenderness on the side of your head and can lead to blindness.
Beyond the burden of a migraine attack itself, having migraine increases the risk for other physical and psychiatric conditions.
Health Issues Associated With Migraines
- Stroke – Migraine attacks, over time, without treatment have been shown to predispose sufferers to increased effects on the blood vessels of the brain. Persons who have visual or neurological symptoms accompanying their migraine attacks should avoid other risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol diets, the use of estrogen and untreated hypertension due to the increased risk of having a migraine related stroke
- Seizures – Similar patterns occur in chronic migraines and the seizure disorder epilepsy: Rapidly firing neurons induce sudden attacks of symptoms, followed by periods in which you’re symptom-free. Migraines can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy. And people with both conditions often don’t respond to anti-seizure medications. The aura before a migraine is similar to an aura before a seizure. Even the brain activity detected by an EEG may be similarly abnormal during a migraine attack and a seizure. New research offers evidence of a genetic link between the two conditions
- Other Chronic Pain – You risk developing other types of chronic pain if you are a migraine sufferer. In one study, one-third of chronic migraine patients had fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and depression. That’s significantly more than the 4% reported in the general population. Any type of chronic pain rewires the way the brain processes pain signals. The constant throbbing of headaches may over excite your entire body’s pain responses, predisposing you to more extensive aching
- Mood Disorders – Migraine sufferers tend to grapple with depression at higher rates than non-sufferers, according to research from the University of Calgary. A study in neurology suggests a biological link between the two conditions. Dealing with migraines for many years can cause anxiety and depression
Learn more about migraines: http://naturalpainrelief.org/migraine-headaches/
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