This fact sheet contains 35 key facts about migraines, aimed at helping sufferers better understand this condition. Note that this is for informational purposes and it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Definition: A migraine is not just a headache, but a neurological disorder involving nerve pathways and chemicals in the brain.
- Types: Migraines are categorized into two main types: migraine without aura and migraine with aura.
- Prevalence: Migraines affect about 12% of the U.S. population, including children.
- Gender: Women are three times more likely to experience migraines compared to men.
- Childhood Onset: About 10% of school-age children suffer from migraines.
- Food: Items like chocolate, caffeine, and cheese can be triggers.
- Hormonal Changes: Menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can exacerbate symptoms in women.
- Weather: Changes in barometric pressure can trigger migraines in some people.
- Stress: A common trigger, although relaxation after stress can also lead to migraines.
- Sleep: Both lack of sleep and too much sleep can act as triggers.
- Aura: A sensory warning sign like flashing lights, blind spots, or tingling.
- Nausea: Commonly accompanies migraines and can lead to vomiting.
- Light Sensitivity: Many sufferers are sensitive to light during an episode.
- Sound Sensitivity: Noise can be unbearable during a migraine.
- Olfactory Sensitivity: Strong smells like perfume can exacerbate symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment
- No Definitive Test: Diagnosis often involves tracking symptoms and triggers.
- Preventive Medications: Such as beta blockers, can help prevent migraines.
- Abortive Treatments: Such as triptans, aim to stop the migraine once it starts.
- Overuse: Taking medications too often can lead to medication-overuse headaches.
- Specialists: A headache specialist or neurologist often provides the best care for migraine sufferers.
- Dark Room: Resting in a dark, quiet room can help.
- Cold or Warm Compress: Different temperatures work for different people.
- Hydration: Staying hydrated can sometimes alleviate symptoms.
- Caffeine: While a trigger for some, it can offer relief to others when taken in moderation.
- Acupuncture: Some find relief through this ancient Chinese practice.
- Biofeedback: Teaches how to control physiological functions.
- CBD Oil: Gaining popularity, but research is still inconclusive.
- Magnesium Supplements: Consult a healthcare provider for appropriate dosage.
- Genetics: Family history can play a significant role in your likelihood of experiencing migraines.
- Serotonin: This neurotransmitter plays a key role in migraines.
- Disability: Migraines are the 6th most disabling illness globally.
- Cost: Billions are spent annually on healthcare services related to migraines.
- Chronic vs. Episodic: Migraines are considered chronic when they occur 15 or more days a month.
- Vestibular Migraines: These involve dizziness and issues with balance.
- Retinal Migraines: Characterized by temporary vision loss or blindness in one eye.
Understanding these facts can provide a foundation for managing migraines effectively, although individual experiences and treatment plans will vary. Always consult a healthcare provider for tailored advice.