INTRODUCTION: Migraine is a disease, a headache is only a symptom. These headaches, with nausea and vomiting, routinely begin in childhood and tend to becomes less severe and often with age. They can occur any hour of the day, though they frequently starts in the morning. The pain is produce by vasodilation in the cranial blood vessels (expansion of the blood vessels), while Headache pain is caused by vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). The disease characteristics can include: Pain usually on one side of the head with a pulsating or throbbing quality, Moderate to intense pain affecting day to day activities, Nausea or vomiting, Sensitivity to light or sound.
Attacks often last from four hours to three days, sometimes longer and visual disturbances or aura Exertion such as climbing stairs makes the headaches worse. Approximately 20% of people experience aura, the warning associated with migraine, prior to the headache pain. It is frequently mis-diagnosed as sinus headaches or tension-type headaches and affects up to 15% of the population. Migraines can produce a host of serious physical ailments including strokes, aneurysms, permanent loss of vision, severe dental problems, coma and even death. Sufferers experience not only excruciating pain, but social ostracism, job loss, disruption of personal relationships, and prejudices at work. These headaches seem to be caused in part by alterations in the level of a body chemical called serotonin and they are not the same in all persons.
SYMPTOMS: May include Modest to severe pain on one or both sides of the head, Pulsating or throbbing pain, Pain that worsens with physical activity, Nausea with or without vomiting, Sensitivity to light or sound. Approximately 20 percent of these persons experience what’s called an aura prior to the headache pain. Symptoms of an aura include flashes of light, zig zags, or blind spots in your eyesight or tingling in one arm or leg. With a Classic migraine, a patient has these visual symptoms 10 to 30 minutes prior an attack: sees flashing lights or zigzag lines, has blind spots or loses vision for a short period of time. With a common migraine, a person does not have an aura, but does have the other signs, such as nausea and vomiting. Women also tend to report higher levels of pain, longer headache time, and greater number of symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.
TREATMENT: Treatment is divided into eliminating particular triggers, management of the specific attack, and long-term prevention. There are two basic ways to treat migraine headaches with drugs: prevent the attacks, or relieve the symptoms during the attacks. Many people use both forms of treatment. Other home treatment methods can help, such as doing relaxation techniques and using cold packs. In your headache diary (you should keep one), make a list of home treatment methods that work for you in different situations.
Alternative medical treatments with medications belonging to the class known as the Phenothiazines have proven useful as non-analgesic alternatives for treating severe headaches.
At present, there is no recognized cure for the disease, only treatments for the symptoms. Furthermore, such treatments are not yet totally effective and sufferers may show a decreased tolerance to a variety of medications, treatments, and pain control regimens. As always, talk with your physician about what sets off your headaches and to help find the proper treatment for you.
CONCLUSION: Migraine is a true neurological disease and often becomes worse in the first trimester of pregnancy, but many women are headache-free later in their pregnancy. This disease and epileptic seizure disorders are also interrelated. People who suffer from these headaches are frequently dismissed as neurotic complainers who are unable to handle stress. It is the second most common type of headache syndrome in the United States and is most commonly found in women, with a 3 to 1 female-to-male ratio. They can continue through the 30s and 40s.
Migraines afflict 28 million Americans, with women suffering more frequently (17%) than men (6%). This kind of headache is one of the most common problems seen in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices. Occurrence among females increases sharply up to age 40 years and then decreases gradually. Headaches tend to run in families, indicating that genetic factors contribute to a persons susceptibility to the condition.
The National Headache Foundation recommends you talk to your MD about your headaches IF: you have several a month and each lasts for several hours or days, disrupts your home, work, or school life, you have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems. Tests can be run to determine if you have migraine or not. Prior your appointment, write down: how frequently you have headaches, where the pain is, how long they last, when do they happen, such as during your menstrual cycle, other symptoms, such as nausea or blind spots, any family history of the condition. By just talking with your MD, you may be able to supply enough information to diagnose migraine.
About the Author:
Richard H. Ealom is a writer who has written more than 60 articles about Diseases,Causes,Cures. Learn of Alternative Treatments for Migraines that work by visiting the The Migraine And Headache Program!
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