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Preventive steps can help avoid migraine.

HYDERABAD -- Eminent Neuro-physician Dr Syed Irfan Ali has underlined the need for adopting an effective strategy against increasing cases of migraine adding that the people could avoid the disease by adopting preventive measures.

The migraine headache usually aggravated by daily activities such as walking upstairs leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, facial pallor, cold hands, cold feet, and sensitivity to light and sound commonly, he informed in a conversation here Monday.

A typical attack lasts between 4 and 72 hours, he said and added that an estimated 40 percent to 60 percent of migraine attacks are preceded by warning symptoms lasting hours to days and the symptoms may include sleepiness, irritability, fatigue, depression or euphoria, yawning, and cravings for sweet or salty foods.

Dr. Irfan Ali said migraine attacks commonly activate the sympathetic nervous system in the body and this system is often regarded as a part of the nervous system that controls primitive responses to stress and pain.

According to Dr. Irfan the increased sympathetic nervous activity in the intestine causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. The impaired absorption of oral medications is a common reason for the ineffectiveness of medications taken to treat migraine headaches, he said and added that the increased sympathetic activity also decreases the circulation of blood and this leads to pallor of the skin as well as cold hands and feet.

He said that for approximately 24 hours after a migraine attack, the migraine victims may feel drained of energy and experience a low-grade headache along with sensitivity to light and sound. Some of sufferers may have recurrences of the headache during this period, he added.

Dr. Irfan Ali said migraine headaches are usually diagnosed when the symptoms described above are present and migraine generally begins in childhood to early adulthood. Migraines can first occur in an individual beyond the age of fifty, advancing age makes other types of headaches more likely, he added.

About the migraine headache treatment, he said it could include non-medication and medication approaches. The Aspirin, Aleve, Motrin, and Advil are all similarly effective in relieving pain and fever and the main difference between aspirin and non-aspirin is their effect on platelets.

About the platelets, he said these are small particles in the blood that cause blood clots to form and aspirin prevents the platelets from forming blood clots. The Aspirin can increase bleeding by preventing blood from clotting though it also could be used therapeutically to prevent clots from causing heart attacks and strokes, he said.

He said disturbances such as sleep deprivation, too much sleep, poor quality of sleep, and frequent awakening at night are also associated with both migraine and tension headaches, whereas improved sleep habits have been shown to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.

About link of caffeine with migraine, Dr. Irfan said caffeine is found in many food products like cola, tea, chocolates and coffee and the low dose of caffeine could increase alertness and energy, but its high doses claim insomnia, irritability, anxiety and headaches. The overuse of caffeine containing analgesics causes rebound headaches, he added.

Dr. Irfan Ali said some women who suffer from migraine headache experience more headaches around the time of their menstrual periods and other women experience migraine headaches only during the menstrual period.

He said the term "menstrual migraine" is used mainly to describe migraines that occur in women who have almost all of their headaches from two days before to one day after their menstrual periods and declining levels of estrogen at the onset of menses is likely to be the cause of menstrual migraines.

The neuro-physician said migraine is often under-diagnosed and under-treated and there is no cure for migraine.

He said nevertheless, there are numerous interventions that could help restore an improved life for migraine sufferers.

He said these measures should be considered from different aspects of the particular patient's condition with triggering factors, nerve inflammation, blood vessel changes and pain.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jan 29, 2013
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