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Migraines

The third most prevalent illness in the world

Nearly 25% of U.S. Households affected

A migraine is a severe headache that can cause significant pain for hours to days and is often disabling, so that the person is unable to function normally. Along with the pain, the person typically also experiences nausea and sensitivity to light and sound, often requiring them to take to their bed in total darkness. Migraines usually begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Migraine is very common – it’s the third most prevalent illness in the world, affecting nearly one fourth of U.S. households. The frequency of migraines varies from person to person: some people have attacks several times per month, while others might have just one per year or less. Though anyone can get migraines, they are particularly common among women during their reproductive years and tend to strike between ages 15 and 55.

Causes

Experts used to think that migraines were caused by the opening and narrowing of blood vessels in the brain. Today, though the causes are still not fully understood, genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a strong role. Specifically, migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and the way it interacts with certain nerves that control pain, and these changes may be inherited. Brain chemical imbalances may also be a factor, especially those involving the chemical serotonin which helps regulate pain.

Migraines may also be triggered by hormone fluctuations (in women), certain foods like cheese and processed items, food additives like MSG and aspartame, alcohol and caffeine, stress, bright light, strong odors like cigarette smoke or perfume, changes in sleep habits, excessive exercise, weather changes and certain medications including birth control pills and vasodilators.

 

Roughly 40 percent of chronic migraine patients suffer from an additional four chronic conditions, says Dr. Thorpe, who recently authored the paper “Prevalence, Health Care Spending and Comorbidities Associated with Chronic Migraine Patients.”

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VIDEOS

Learn more about migraines and the impact they can have on a person's quality of life.

ARTICLES & PRESS RELEASES

Aug 18

Managing Migraine With Medical Treatments: Acute Treatments to Stop Migraine Attacks When They Happen

/ Migraine
Migraine is a complex disease of the brain and nerves that causes attacks of headache, nausea and vomiting, hypersensitivity to light and noise, and other symptoms. Attacks can be disabling. For most people with the condition, both lifestyle management and medication are needed. This article covers medications for treating migraine attacks when they happen—called acute [...] ⇀ READ MORE
Aug 18

Managing Migraine With Medical Treatments: Preventive Treatments to Reduce Migraine Attack Frequency

/ Migraine
Migraine is a painful and disabling disease of the nerves and brain that can be treated with a combination of acute treatment to stop attacks when they occur and preventive medication ad lifestyle changes to reduce the frequency of attacks. In this article, preventive medications to reduce frequency and severity of attacks are covered. When [...] ⇀ READ MORE
Aug 18

Managing Migraine With Lifestyle Changes

/ Migraine
Although migraine is a complex brain disease not fully understand yet, much has been learned in the last decade. Increased knowledge has led to better understanding and new ways of managing and treating migraine to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. There are two main branches for managing migraine: lifestyle changes and medical treatments. [...] ⇀ READ MORE
Jul 15

Easing the Pain of Migraine with Nurse Practitioners

/ Migraine
The Burden of Migraine About 1 in 7 people experience migraine, which are the second highest cause of disability in the world. Not just a headache—migraine is primary headache disorder, which means headache that is not caused by something else. Migraine is a serious condition that causes more than just headache pain, although the pain [...] ⇀ READ MORE
Jul 08

Signs Your Migraine Treatment Stopped Working — and What to Do If It Does

/ Migraine

The goal of migraine medication is for your symptoms to go away and not come back. Here’s what to do if it fails.

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