What Is Migraines/Headaches and Treatment of Migraines/Headaches
It has been estimated that 70% of migraine sufferers are female. Of these female migraine sufferers, 60%-70% report that their migraines are related to their menstrual cycles -- hence the name, menstrual migraines.It has been estimated that 70% of migraine sufferers are female. Of these female migraine sufferers, 60%-70% report that their migraines are related to their menstrual cycles -- hence the name, menstrual migraines.
In some cases, these painful headaches are preceded or accompanied by a sensory warning sign (aura), such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg.
Migraine headaches typically affect one side of the head. They can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Some people have them weekly, others have fewer than one a year. Migraines usually begin sometime between the teen years and the age of 40, and can be classified as either ""classic'''' or ""common.''''
What causes migraines/headaches?
Migraine headaches seem to be caused in part by changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin. Serotonin plays many roles in the body, and it can have an effect on the blood vessels. When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels constrict (shrink). When serotonin levels fall, the blood vessels dilate (swell). This swelling can cause pain or other problems.
The cause of migraine is unknown. The condition may result from a series of reactions in the central nervous system caused by changes in the body or in the environment. There is often a family history of the disorder, suggesting that migraine sufferers may inherit sensitivity to triggers that produce inflammation in the blood vessels and nerves around the brain and scalp, causing pain.
Signs And Symptoms Of Migraines/Headaches
Not all migraines are the same. Most people experience migraines without auras, which were previously called common migraines. Some, however, have migraines with auras, which were previously called classic migraines. If you''re in the second group, you''ll likely have an aura about 15 to 30 minutes before your headache begins.
Episodes can last from several hours to several days and often are disabling. During the attack, pain may travel from one part of the head to another and may radiate down the neck into the shoulder. Scalp tenderness occurs in the majority of patients during or after an attack.
Foods that may trigger migraines
Aged, canned, cured or processed meat, including bologna, game, ham, herring, hot dogs, pepperoni and sausage
Aged cheese, Aspartame, Avocados, Beans, including pole, broad, lima, Italian, navy, pinto and garbanzo
To help prevent migraines:
Keep a record of what you ate before each headache. Avoid foods, such as chocolate, cheese, and red wine, that seem to cause an attack. Don''t skip or delay meals.
Treatment Of Migraines/Headaches
There are two ways to approach the treatment of migraine headache with drugs: prevent the attacks, or relieve the symptoms during the attacks. Many people with migraine use both approaches by taking medications originally developed for epilepsy and depression to prevent future attacks, and treating attacks when they happen with drugs called triptans that relieve pain and restore function. Hormone therapy may help some women whose migraines seem to be linked to their menstrual cycle.
Preventative medication may be prescribed for patients who have frequent headaches (3 or more a month) that do not respond to abortive treatment. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of these patients may benefit from preventative treatment.
Medication therapies for migraine
Individuals with occasional mild migraine headaches that do not interfere with daily activities usually medicate themselves with over-the-counter (OTC, non-prescription) pain relievers (analgesics). Many OTC analgesics are available. OTC analgesics have been shown to be safe and effective for short-term relief of headache (as well as muscle aches, pains, menstrual cramps , and fever) when used according to the instructions on their labels.