THE MISERY OF MIGRAINE: KNOW THE SIGNS, PREVENTION AND DIAGNOSIS

the misery of migraine: know the signs, prevention and diagnosis

18/07/2022

For many people, the sudden, awful episode of throbbing pain on one side of the head hitting at anytime, anywhere is familiar. That unbearable ache accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and weakness pauses everything for a few hours. 
A migraine occurs when certain neurons in your blood vessels transmit pain signals to your brain. This causes inflammatory compounds to be released into your brain's nerves and blood vessels. It's unknown why your nerves behave in this manner. Some people have migraines when their serotonin or estrogen levels fluctuate. Reasons of migraine pain varies from person to person.

What is the most prevalent reason for migraines?

People who suffer from migraines may be able to pinpoint triggers that appear to initiate the symptoms. The following are some probable triggers:

  • Boosted stress and anxiety levels
     
  • Biological and environmental factors, such as hormone fluctuations or exposure to light or certain odors
     
  • Changes in sleeping habits and tiredness
     
  • Increased exposure to blue light (of smartphones, laptops, tablets, and television) 

Estrogen levels in humans, especially in women, naturally fluctuate throughout their lives, increasing during the reproductive years and decreasing thereafter.

In 2019, over 213 million people in India were diagnosed with migraine, with women accounting for 60% of all instances. Migraine affects over 20% of the world's population.

Migraine pain is most typically felt in the forehead. It generally affects one side of the head, but it might affect both sides or switch from time to time. The average migraine episode lasts for nearly 3 to 4 hours. The pain can endure for 72 hours to a week if left untreated. 

Migraine symptoms might appear 1 to 2 days before the actual migraine. This is referred to as the prodrome phase. During this time, you may experience the following symptoms:
 

  • Exhaustion or a lack of energy
  • Yawning often
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Depression 
  • Stiffness in the neck

There are several varieties of migraine. Migraine without aura and migraine with aura are the two most prevalent forms. Some patients experience both.

Migraine with aura: 
 

  • If you experience a migraine with aura, you will almost certainly have at least two episodes with the following characteristics:
     
  • Issues with vision (the most typical symptom)
     
  • Numbness and tingling throughout the body
     
  • Drowsiness
     
  • Hurdles in speaking and hearing 
     

Individuals who suffer from migraine without aura have had at least five bouts with the following characteristics:
 

  • The average attack lasts 4 to 72 hours.
     
  • The headache exacerbates with movements, such as walking or climbing stairs
     
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
     

Migraine can occasionally occur without causing headaches, which is medically known as "silent migraine" or "acephalgic migraine." This includes the aura migraine symptoms but not the pain that inevitably accompanies them. A migraine is considered chronic when it happens at least 15 days per month. The degree of the discomfort and the symptoms may alter periodically.

Who is at the most risk of migraines?


Although it is hard to forecast who will have a migraine and who will not, certain risk factors may make one more susceptible. These risk factors are as follows:

Genetics: Up to 80% of those who suffer from migraine headaches have a first-degree relative who has the condition.

Gender: Migraine headaches affect women more than men, particularly women aged 15 to 55. Because of the effect of hormones, it is most common among women.

Even kids are susceptible to acute recurrent headaches. It affects about 10% of children aged 5 to 15 and up to 28% of teenagers.
 

The most prevalent migraine signs and symptoms are:
 

  • Sensitivity to light, noise, and scents
     
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort, as well as stomach distress and abdominal pain
     
  • Sudden appetite loss or increased hunger 
     
  • Sweating or chills in the body 
     
  • Pale skin 
     
  • Exhaustion 
     
  • Difficulty sleeping (Insomnia) 
     
  • Vertigo and clouded vision
     
  • Diarrhea / Fever (Rare signs) 
     

What causes migraine?

Migraine episodes can be brought on by a number of circumstances.

Emotional strain:
One of the most prevalent migraine causes is emotional stress. Certain neurotransmitters in the brain are produced during stressful situations to battle the condition (known as the "flight or fight" response). A migraine can be caused by the excessive release of these substances.

Missing a meal:
Skipping a meal throughout the day can also be the cause of migraine.

Caffeine:
Excessive caffeine use or abstinence from caffeine might result in migraines.

Light exposure:
Flashing lights, bright lights, light from electronic devices such as mobiles, and computers, as stated above, and being under sunray for a long period of time can all cause headaches.
 

Other factors include:

  • Overexertion
     
  • Frequent dieting
     
  • Not drinking enough water, which should be about 2.7 liters per day
     
  • Changes in your regular sleeping habit
     
  • Constant loud noise exposure (especially if you are living around high-traffic areas, factories, train stations, etc.)
     
  • Smoking, strong perfume, or other odor exposure
     
  • Impacts of certain medications 


A migraine can be diagnosed by your physician by listening to your symptoms, obtaining a comprehensive medical history, and administering a migraine and headache diagnosis test to rule out other contributing factors.

They will also want to build a history of your migraine-related symptoms, which will most likely include questions like -" Describe the nature and area of your discomfort."
"Is your heart pounding? Thrumming? What is the frequency of episodes?" and so on. 

Imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI, can help doctors determine the severity of your migraine and propose appropriate therapy for the same.  

How can you avoid this dreadful condition?

Keep an eye on what you eat and drink. If you experience a headache, make a list of the meals and drinks you consumed before the headache began. If you see a pattern over time, avoid that food. Eat frequently. You should not miss meals.

Reduce your caffeine intake. For many people, a cup of coffee is the kickstart of the day. As helpful as caffeine might seem for you to get going throughout the day, it can cause several health issues if taken excessively. Caffeine should be gradually reduced if it appears to be one of your headache causes.

Exercise with caution. Exercising is critical for humans to stay healthy and in good shape. However, overdoing it can cause headaches in certain people. Consult with your gym trainer, yoga instructor, or sports coach about what might be beneficial.

Make your mental wellness your first priority. There are several approaches. You may work out, meditate, spend time with the people you care about, and do activities you like. Get rid of stressful thoughts and establish a plan to deal with them.

Migraines can strike suddenly and without warning. They may spoil your day, or perhaps many days. They can cause you to miss work, crucial activities, and enjoyment. If you suffer from migraines on a regular basis, you undoubtedly feel like you don't have complete control over your life. Do not allow this to happen. To live a healthy and happy life, migraines must be diagnosed and treated on time.

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