Diagnosis and Help for Migraines

Written by AnaLise on December 29, 2008 – 7:22 am -

Some people suffer with migraines for years before seeking help.  Some never seek help because they don’t know where to look or how to look.  That is a very painful way to go.  At least half of the migraine sufferers in the U.S. do not get diagnosis or treatment for their migraines. 

You should talk to your doctor about headaches, especially if you have more than a couple of headaches per month and/or if they last for several hours or days.  In addition, if your headachesare getting in the way of your home, work or school, or if you have nausea, vomiting or other symptoms accompanying them, it is important for you to talk to your doctor about your headaches and all of your symptoms.

It is important to prepare for your doctor’s visit and help your doctor identify your headaches by keeping track of certain things in advance.  Before your appointment, make sure to write down how often your headaches are occurring and how long they last from beginning to end.  Write down what your symptoms are, such as nausea, problems with light or noise, and where the pain is located.  Other important information includes when the headache and other symptoms start, such as during your menstrual period, after you have eaten specific food or had a certain beverage.  For instance, some people can drink beer and rum but not vodka or wine.  They have no symptoms with a glass of beer or a drink that has rum in it, but if they have a glass of wine or a drink with vodka in it, they may have very extreme symptoms within a few minutes or hours.  These are things your doctor needs to know.  Also let the doctor know if your family has any history of migraines or other headaches and if you are having other symptoms, such as blind spots.

Your doctor will review this information with you.  You might have to have some tests including a blood test.  This will start the process of finding the appropriate treatment for your headaches and migraines.  If you are looking for further information after you speak with your doctor, you can find information at www.migraines.org.

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Identifying Migraine Headaches

Written by AnaLise on December 1, 2008 – 12:42 pm -

Migraine headaches have been around for years, only they were not always recognized as such.  In the past, if a person – especially a woman – had a migraine headache, or a series of severe headaches, their family, friends and doctors did not take them too seriously, telling her that things were just not that bad and she had to relax, not worry so much or just get over it.  Sometimes, the doctor would prescribe tranquilizers to “calm her down”.  Either way, there wasn’t much help for women or men who had these debilitating, sickening and painful headaches.

Things have progressed tremendously, especially during the past few years.  Migraines have been identified as a severe pain on one or both sides of the head, mostly around the temples or behind one eye or ear.  In addition to this pain, migraines are also identified by their accompanying severe nausea and vomiting, as well as severe reaction to light and sound.  In other words, you wish you could lie in a cool dark room and not hear, see or smell anything. Many migraine sufferers say they wish that someone could knock them out until the pain subsides, which often takes from a couple of hours to a couple of days. 

Studies show that most migraines affect people between 15 and 55 years old, however, they often affect people outside those age limits.  They can also be hereditary, and are more common in women.  There are current studies regarding the causes of migraines in children and infants, as well.

Migraines can be triggered by blood flow issues, lack of food, allergies to specific foods, lack of sleep, stress during the menstrual cycle, general stress or anxiety, weather changes, chocolate, alcohol or nicotine, bright light or loud noise and/or food additives such as MSG or nitrates.

If you are having ongoing severe headaches, it is important to keep track of when they are happening – including date and time – and what you were doing within the hour or two that they began.  It is also critical to see your doctor and provide this information to him/her so an accurate diagnosis can be made and treatment prescribed. 

With more information regarding migraines, there are various treatments that your doctor can use to help alleviate this problem.  It is possible to fight migraines and no longer suffer in silence.

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