What is migraine?


A migraine is a severe, debilitating headache accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity. A migraine headache can last until 4 hours, but a severe migraine can last until 72 hours. The worldwide prevalence of migraines is 14.7% making it the third most common disease in the world. 1 in 7 people suffer from migraines. Migraines occur more in people who have a family history of migraine attacks. Women are at a higher risk of undergoing migraine.

The exact cause of migraines is not known. However, a theory is present according to which activity of nerve cells excites the trigeminal nerve, which releases certain chemicals that transmit signals. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters change the size of blood vessels and release more neurotransmitters, thereby leading to a process that provides self-protection to the body by causing the removal of harmful stimuli. This process is known as the inflammatory process. This process causes pain.

• There are two categories of migraine; migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

Migraines with aura, also known as the classical migraines, comprise of visual symptoms. The aura consists of early signs that occur almost an hour before the headache begins.

An aura starts almost an hour before the headache and includes loss of vision in one or both eyes, seeing zig-zag patterns or flashes of light, visual hallucinations, auditory hallucinations, numbness, prickling, or tingling sensation, and difficulty in speaking. Before the beginning of the migraine, the patient may experience mood changes, fatigue, stiffness of muscles, constipation, or diarrhea. After an aura, the headache phase begins. It comprises of severe, throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head and may include vomiting, chills, dizziness, fatigue, and light sensitivity. The pain often occurs on both sides of the head.

Several factors may trigger the classical migraine, including flashes of light, tension, and medicines. The patient must avoid these triggers factors. The patients must stay in a dark room while going through a classical migraine. They must prevent exposure to light and unnecessary sounds. Apart from that, they must consult their doctor for the recommendation of medicines.

• The second category includes the migraine without an aura, also known as the common migraine. Symptoms of the common migraine include throbbing pain in the head or on the temporal area, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and sensitivity to light or sound.

As in classical migraine, the patients must stay in a dark room. The patients must consult a doctor for medication. Apart from that, they must avoid things that trigger a migraine, including stress, tiredness, flashing lights, medicines, and certain foods that trigger a migraine.

The patients must immediately visit a doctor if they experience an abrupt headache with fever, stiffness of the neck, and seizures, pain after a head injury, or chronic pain that worsens upon coughing or a sudden movement.

After an episode of migraine, the patient might feel tired and confused. Several factors trigger migraines. Common triggers include tension, changes in the sleep cycle, physical activity, salty foods, alcohol, coffee, and hormonal changes. Patients must keep a diary so that they could note the events that trigger a migraine. Doing so will help the patient to prevent those triggers and hence, avoid a migraine.

Most of the people who suffers migraine attacks, have no or less knowledge about the triggers and how you can control it. Do your part to educate others by sharing this video in your social circle.

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