One in seven people suffers from migraines globally. It is one of the most common diseases in the world. Migraines are a neurological condition that is genetic in origin and no one truly understands why they occur. Many people suffer from this debilitating condition.
The World Health Organisations highlights that headache disorders are the most underrated illness in the world. This is really surprising considering up to 50% of the adult population throughout the world experience headaches. Migraines cost industries thousands a year due to staff absences.
Traditional treatment for migraines was opiate-based painkillers which relieve the pain but are highly addictive. A new type of treatment called Triptans work by relaxing the blood vessels and easing the pain. Educating health professionals in the cause and treatment of migraines would help ease the suffering of many people.
Migraines are a neurological condition that cause great discomfort for sufferers. The World Health Organisation classifies them as a headache disorder. Migraines are the third most common and seventh most debilitating disease in the world. Sufferers miss many days of work which costs employers thousands of pounds.
There are three types of migraine; aura on its own, aura with pain and pain on its own. An aura is a visual or sensory disturbance that happens before and during an attack. Headaches normally manifest themselves on one side of the head and can cause a variety of other symptoms. Migraines last between four and seventy-two hours leaving the sufferer tired and washed out. Some people only have them once or twice a year while others have regular attacks.
Migraine symptoms generally come in four phases; prodromal, aura, headache and resolution. The prodromal stage is also known as the pre-headache stage it affects mood and energy levels. The aura stage lasts for a short time and affects vision. Headaches throb on one side of the head and last between four and seventy-two hours. After the pain subsides during the resolution stage sufferers feel tired and drained. People experience some or all of these symptoms.
Other migraine symptoms include; nausea, dizziness, paralysis, slurred speech, lack of concentration and diarrhoea. Sufferers need to seek medical treatment if their symptoms are severe enough. Migraines disrupt people’s lives which has a major impact on work and family life.
Treating migraines is very complicated because overusing painkillers renders them ineffective. If over the counter treatments like paracetamol stop work doctors prescribe stronger painkillers. This is only a temporary solution because the sufferer will have to keep increasing their dose to maintain effectiveness.
Triptans are selective serotonin 5 HT1B 1D agonists which are very effective treatments. They must be taken at the prodromal stage to prevent the full intensity of a migraine. One dose is usually sufficient and the sufferer is able to get on with their life without disruption.
There are no catchall treatments that will eradicate migraines forever so they have to be controlled in other ways. Migraine forecasting involves recording everything you do and when migraines occur to help identify triggers. After a period of time, you will have a complete record of what happens before you have an attack. This information will help you to make life changes that will reduce the impact they have on your life.
There are many phone apps for recording information about your migraines. There are so many to choose from that you will find one suitable for you. At the moment the best advice is to learn as much about lifestyle triggers and take control of your migraines.
By Birpal Virdee (January 2018)