By: Marium Khan,
Migraine is chronic severe headache preceded by multiple signs like flashes of light, blind spots, vision loss, stiffness on the shoulders, loss of sensation, and difficulty in speaking clearly. It may occur simultaneously with vomiting, nausea, sickness, and increased sensitivity to light. The pain on the head is often one sided and may last for several hours to days. The people of age ranging from 15 to 55 are tend to be affected largely but the women are three times more likely to suffer from a migraine, particularly those who are in their reproductive years. The disease is so prevalent that the American Migraine Association reports that over twelve percent of U.S population is suffering from a migraine. A headache is often confused and misdiagnosed with the pain due to tension or sinus type headache. Good news is that the patient can prevent the pain if an appropriate medicine is taken in consultation with the doctor when the signs of a migraine appear on the body. Here we will discuss the Migraine Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. We will also discuss some method for the prevention of the disease.
The signs of a migraine could occur one or two days before the start of a headache, right before a headache or during the pain. The symptoms may differ from patient to patient. One may have specific symptoms and may not experience all the Migraine stages. The typical symptoms include the four stages which are prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome.
The symptoms which are appeared one or two days before the migraine attack is called the prodrome stage of the disease. Some common symptoms during this stage are fatigue feelings, depression, hyperactivity, constipation, food craving, neck stiffness, increased yawning, excessive urination and the feeling of thirst. Usually, these symptoms are followed by the aura of a migraine.
Some people may experience the auras of a migraine and many people may not experience this stage. The person may feel weakness or numbness on the one side of the body, speaking difficulty, vision loss, light flashes, Shapes & bright spots, and the tingling sensation in the arms and legs. The Auras of a migraine are followed by the attack phase.
The Attack phase is the phase when a severe headache occurs. The pain may last from four hours to three days varying from person to person and when it is treated. A person, by and large, feels one sided pulsating pain on the head or pain on both sides, which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light or sound.
The Attack is followed by the postdrome stage of a migraine, in which person may feel drained, confused and washed out. Meanwhile, people may experience variation in their moods, like the feeling of happiness and joy to the feelings of fatigue and dizziness.
The exact causes of a migraine are still unknown. The most common reason thought to be are abnormal activities which cause changes in the nerves cell and blood flow in the brain. According to the medical researchers, the imbalance in the chemical serotonin which regulates the pain in the nervous system is also involved in the pain. But there are numerous factors which may trigger a migraine. These factors include the hormonal change in Women, which fluctuates the estrogen during the menstruation cycle, pregnancy and menopause.
The food activities also trigger a migraine. The consumption of excessive processed or packaged foods, salty foods, and foods with artificial sugar which contains the Monosodium Glutamate-MSG also take part in triggering and worsening the migraine attack.
Drinking habit, especially wine, and caffeinated drinks trigger a migraine very fast. If these are accompanied with the stress at work or feeling of depression, it will exacerbate the severity of a migraine. Other factors which trigger a migraine may include changes in sleep patterns, skipping meals, smoking, Sexual activity, weather change, and exposure to intense light, intense noise & strong smell.
Before the treatment of a migraine, the disease is diagnosed by the doctor. The doctor recognizes the symptoms and may say to perform CT scan and MRI for ruling out other potential diseases associated with the symptoms. After diagnosing the migraine the physician may use the medication to prevent the attack or treat the disease during the attack.
The main purpose of preventive medication is to minimize the pains and duration of a migraine whenever the signs of disease came in prodrome stage. The prevention methods include diet changes, exercise, and drug prescription. The patient may be advised by the doctor to take an antidepressant, anticonvulsants, Botulinum toxins A, Gabapentin, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. There is another type of treatment called “Ergot”, which is effective when if it is a response to the first sign of A migraine.
During the Attack phase, the pain killers are common medication for reducing the pain. These medications are counters like ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen. The aspirin with the caffeine and above-mentioned medicines are very effective for reducing the level of a headache during the attack.
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