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Dont ignore migraine, says doctor at Muscat.

Muscat: Migraine is one of the most common problems faced by people all across the world but it is often over-looked as a minor health issue.

Dr. C J Fernandez of Novartis explains some of the frequently misunderstood facts about migraine and migraines .

Q: Why is migraine frequently misdiagnosed as tension headache

Migraine is often accompanied by tension or allergy-like symptoms such as stuffy and running nose feeling, pain or pressure in or around the sinuses which patients and physicians alike may misinterpret as tension headache. Appropriate diagnosis allows avoidance of unnecessary antibiotic therapy

How can I tell the difference between migraine and a severe headache

There is no such thing as a severe headache. By definition, headaches are mild or moderate in intensity. Severe headaches are likely to be migraine, especially if they are accompanied by nausea and temporary disability, and aggravated by physical activity. Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are uncommon in normal headaches and very common in migraine. Normal headache is not aggravated by routine activity such as climbing stairs or bending over to pick things up, while migraine frequently is.

What are the strongest predictors of migraine that differentiates it from multiple other problems

To be certain of my diagnosis I ask my patients certain questions such as are you nauseated or sick to your stomach when you have a headache Has a headache limited your activities for a day or more in the last 3 months Does light bother you when you have a headache Patients complaining of headache who answer positively on 2 out of the 3 symptom questions have a 93 per cent chance of being diagnosed with migraine. Those patients who answer positively on all 3 questions have a 98 per cent chance of a migraine diagnosis. The sensitivity and specificity of this questionnaire is similar regardless of sex, age, presence of co morbid headaches, or previous diagnoses.

Patients often come to you having made their own headache diagnosis. How often are they correct

Research has established that those patients who call their headaches migraines are usually right. Patients who call their headaches "stress headaches" usually have migraine. Patients who think they have sinus headaches, in the absence of corroborating signs or symptoms such as fever or purulent nasal discharge, usually have migraine.

What is your advice doctor to patients suffering from these severe episodes of migraine

It is very important for patients to understand the difference between migraine episodes and normal headache and once they are aware of that, special care should be brought to resolve these painful episodes and avoid further complications. Selection of the medication here plays an important role as studies have proven that as medications that relieve symptoms within 20 minutes of an attack, while migraine pain is still mild, can cease the cascade upgrade of pain growing in intensity.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:May 24, 2012
Words:503
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