“Migraine is a neurological disorder not just a normal headache.”
Migraine is a headache disorder that makes one sensitive to light, sound, smell, and visual disturbances. Additionally, the pain becomes worse during physical activities. Do you have such symptoms? If yes, please go ahead and consult a doctor. It is not as simple as it seems.
The World Health Organization ranks Migraine as the 6th most common cause of disability worldwide.
People often say they have a migraine but, don’t know what causes it or how should they deal with it. Most importantly, the common question is about diagnosing it, because, the symptoms look the same as a normal headache. Although it is self-diagnosable, yet, you must take medical help.
What is a Migraine?
According to Prof. Peter Goadsby of King’s College, London:
“A migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise, and hunger.”
It is a complex condition affecting the brain functioning. This consequently results in a painful headache, disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. Moreover, the patient often feels sick and nauseous. Approximately, 12% Americans have one or other type of it.
It is so common that in India alone, it happens to more than 10 million people per year.
Yes, there are several types of a migraine. However, the most common types fall into two categories:
– A migraine with aura
– A migraine without aura
In 1988, the International Headache Society produced a classification system for a migraine and headache. They named the classification ‘International Classification of Headache Disorders’ and is also adopted by The World Health Organization. This system gives different names to the different types of headaches that involve different symptoms.
Few more types are listed below:
Other than these types, it is also categorised by phases. This is done according to the severity of pain and symptoms. These include prodrome phase, aura phase, pain phase and postdrome phase.
Signs and symptoms:
This depends on stage, phase, or types. However, some common symptoms are:
– A throbbing headache
– Sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
– Altered mood
– Deproriaession or euphoria
– Craving for certain food(s)
– Stiff muscles (especially in the neck)
– It happens before a headache
– Vision disturbances such as dark spots, coloured spots, sparkles or ‘stars’, and zigzag lines
– The feeling of everything spinning
– Speech and hearing can also be disturbed
– High severity headaches
– Neck pain
– Sensitivity to light, sound, and smells
– Nasal stuffiness
– Diarrhoea, frequent urination, or sweating
– Many report a sore feeling in the area where it was
– Some report impaired thinking for a few days after a headache has passed
– May have gastrointestinal symptoms, mood changes, and weakness
– 91 percent miss work or can’t function normally during migraine attack
The main cause of it is still unknown. However, studies till now suggest that it happens mostly because of genetic factors.
– Genetic: Studies of twins indicate a 34% to 51% genetic likelihood of developing it. However, single gene disorders resulting in the condition are rare; but, are associated with it to some extent.
– Environmental factor: Although there is insufficient data that can conclude environmental factor as a cause of it, yet, experts suggest taking some preventive measures related to indoor air quality and lighting.
Moreover, physiological stress, hunger, fatigue, and other can play a role in triggering a migraine.
– It tends to affect people between 15-55 years of age
– Psychological stress has been reported as a factor in 50 to 80% of people
– It affects approximately one billion people globally
– More than 70 percent have a family history
– 70 percent of all migraine sufferers are women