Migraines affect approximately 10% of the population, and for those that suffer frequent migraines, they can have a debilitating effect on their lives. Migraines usually occur in adults between the ages of 25 to 50, and more commonly in women. Furthermore, it is not unusual for children to suffer from a migraine, especially around the age of puberty. The majority of people will not realize they have a migraine, and instead, believe that they only have a severe headache.
The migraine headache is characteristically severe and is a continual throbbing pain. It can occur on one side of the head or both and will affect people in different ways. The sufferer may become sensitive to light, may become nauseous, and may find they have an inability to concentrate. They may also start sweating profusely and develop diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Migraines are placed into two main categories: Migraine with aura and migraine without aura. Sufferers of migraines with aura will get specific aura symptoms within the hour of a migraine coming. They may get some visual indications, typically flashing lights, zigzag lines, or even lose partial sight in one or both eyes. They may experience pins and needles in their hands or around their neck. Other aura symptoms might include cravings for sweet food, irritability, speech difficulties, and a feeling of disorientation. The aura symptoms usually disappear before the migraine headache begins.
Generally, a migraine will happen only once or twice a year. Frequent sufferers, on the other hand, can get them every day. When this is the case, the sufferer is basically living around a migraine as everyday activities such as work, exercise, family, and socializing are drastically affected. Migraines cannot be accurately predicted, so planning any sort of event becomes that bit more stressful, which in itself can be a trigger for a migraine. When work becomes affected, sufferers may find that not all employers are sympathetic to this illness, and this can cause issues. This is also the case with family life. A migraine will make the sufferer want to withdraw from normal activity, which can put a strain on the family unit.
Migraine sufferers need to be forward thinkers. Not only is the sufferer affected during the onset of a migraine, but they are also affected in between each incidence. A migraine sufferer needs to be constantly aware of certain triggers that may bring on a migraine.
Diet can be a source of migraine triggers. Red wine, mature cheeses, caffeine drinks, alcohol, and products containing monosodium glutamate are common. Additionally, missing meals and not drinking enough fluids can bring on a migraine. Other common triggers for migraines are stress, high humidity in the weather, irregular sleep patterns, physical exercise, and bright lights, though they vary for individual sufferers. As mentioned before, most migraine sufferers will know their triggers and will avoid them as best they can. They may even have kept a log to help identify them. For the sufferer though, this can still be frustrating, because, with migraines, there are no guarantees.
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