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Migraine

migraine Migraine is a common form of headache that is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms.

Symptoms include a pounding headache, intensive throbbing in one area of the head, nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light or sound.

Causes: Migraines are believed to be due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. About two-thirds of cases run in families. Fluctuating hormone levels may also play a role: migraine affects slightly more boys than girls before puberty, but about two to three times more women than men. Propensity for migraines usually decreases during pregnancy.

Alcohol, stress and anxiety, certain odors or perfumes, loud noises or bright lights, and smoking may trigger a migraine.

Also;

  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Dehydration
  • Changes in hormone levels during a woman’s menstrual cycle or with the use of birth control pills
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Exercise or other physical stress
  • Missed meals
  • Smoking or exposure to smoke

Effects

Migraines can rob you of quality of life.Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all one can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down. The pain is generally aggravated by physical activity.

Treatment

Medications such as ibuprofen,acetaminophen, aspirin or panadol for the headache and an antiemetic for the nausea can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. The right medicines, combined with self-help remedies, avoidance of triggers and lifestyle changes, may make a tremendous difference.

A complete physical exam may be done by a doctor to determine if your headaches are due to muscle tension, sinus problems, or a serious brain disorder.There is no specific test to prove that your headache is actually a migraine. However, your doctor may order a brain MRI or CT scan if you have never had one before or if you have unusual symptoms with your migraine, including weakness, memory problems, or loss of alertness.An EEGmay be needed to rule out seizures. A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) might be done.

Self Help– A key step involves learning how to manage your migraines at home. A headache diary can help you identify your headache triggers. Then you and your doctor can plan how to avoid these triggers.

Be aware, however, that:

  • Taking medicines more than 3 days a week may lead to rebound headaches – headaches that keep coming back.
  • Taking too much acetaminophen can damage your liver. Too much ibuprofen or aspirin can irritate your stomach.
  • Migraine headache is a risk factor for stroke in both men and women. The risk is higher in people who have migraines that occur with aura. People with migraines should avoid other risk factors for stroke, include smoking, taking birth control pills, and eating an unhealthy diet.
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