What are migraines?
A migraine is a severe headache that refuses to go away. It might last from a few hours to days. The onset of migraines is often random, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Particularly, the suddenness of a migraine attack makes the experience more harrowing for the victims. Some victims might feel like they are shut in a dark room and cannot feel the escape door.
Experts have not yet identified specific triggers for migraines because they vary among victims. In addition, the suddenness of the condition makes it a huge challenge to pin down the source and the trigger. However, studies have found that women are more likely to suffer migraines than the other gender. According to the 2015 National Health Interview Survey, 20% of women aged above 18 years experienced migraines, compared to 9.7% of men. It seems, as the survey established, cases of migraines in both sexes subside with age.
When do you know you have migraines?
Diagnosing migraines could be challenging, given that the condition presents uniquely in different patients. Nevertheless, medical experts have narrowed the symptoms of migraines to a few tale tell signs. The first one, and the most common symptom, is acute headache. Unlike common headaches, such as headache from stress, the headache for migraines is long-winded. It undulates from a dull ache and slowly gathers pace towards excruciating pain that encompasses the entire head.
Oftentimes, the headache does not present alone. Patients might experience nausea, appetite loss, and edgy nerves. Other patients may encounter fatigue, dizziness, a feeling as if their bodies are turning cold or warm, paling skin, and a blurring vision; these symptoms may occur at different stages of migraines.
Stages of migraines
These stages unfold as follows. At the onset, victims experience the prodrome stage, which entails certain things as a stiffness in the neck and unusual cravings for food. These are the subtle pointers to ab oncoming migraine attack. Next is the aura stage. This entire episode entails difficulties for victims to utilize their sensory faculties properly. They might lose the sense of sight as well as body numbness.
The real migraine attack comes at stage three. Called the attack stage, victims experience excruciating pain that pulsates all around the head. This stage starts up to three days after the prodrome stage. Further, it lasts the longest, especially when one does not use medication promptly. Patients experience nausea, and the loss of vision exacerbates. At the tail end of the attack, stage is the post-drome stage. Here, patients feel fatigued, while others might experience elation.
Migraine triggers and treatment
Migraine triggers are oftentimes subjective. However, the American Migraine Foundation narrowed the triggers down to the following. In the first place is stress. An American Migraine Foundation study established that stress is responsible for triggering migraines for about 70% of the victims. Another common trigger for migraines is sleep deprivation. A sleep-deprived body lacks the opportunity to heal from the vagaries of daily life.
A person’s lifestyle is also responsible for triggering migraines. For example, a high intake of alcohol and caffeine increases the probability of a migraine attack. This includes poor diet and failure to keep the body properly hydrated.
Pain relief medication is the first treatment that people run to when they suffer migraines. Common medications include over-the-counter pills whose elements are ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. Besides pain relief, patients may also take medication for nausea. If the migraines last for days, some preventive medications like medicines for seizures and blood pressure may be helpful. In rare cases, patients might need to use a transcranial magnetic stimulation device. This device works on the brain such that it reduces the pain.