Migraines are not a Myth

Written by AnaLise on August 5, 2008 – 6:22 pm -

There are many myths surrounding migraines, and there are too many people who either don’t understand them or make light of them, leaving migraine sufferers in situations where they are in extreme debilitating pain and misunderstood, as well.

If you have ever known someone who suffers from migraines, you have probably seen them nauseated, in pain, needing to be in a dark and quiet place, sensitive to smells and seeing flashes of light.  These are just a few of the real symptoms that accompany migraines.

The reality is that migraines are a physiological and biological event affecting the blood vessels in the head.  The problem is that too many doctors and well meaning friends and family members brush off individuals who suffer from migraines by telling them that they need to try not to “stress out” so much, or they need to get help for their depression among other things.

Unfortunately, since stress and depression are not the actual causes of migraines, individuals who are trying to deal with migraines are often misdiagnosed and put on medication that is not proper for them.  In fact, the wrong medication can often make migraines even worse.  Aside from this problem, if migraines are not treated properly, it has been proven that this could lead to stroke, heart attack, permanent visual problems and even sending the person into a coma.

Migraines are a real disease.  They have been proven to be genetic, and it is now known that if one parent of a person has had migraines, the person has a 50% chance of suffering from migraines, as well. 

It has also been proven that there are various triggers for migraines.  Some are triggers that can be controlled, such as certain foods like chocolate, nuts and red wine or hard alcohol and cigarettes.  Other triggers cannot be controlled, such as a rise or fall in barometric pressure, humidity, hormone levels and more.

If you have suffered from migraines and have not found a doctor that is diagnosing and treating them correctly or is not taking you seriously, keep looking and don’t give up.  Migraines are real health problems and need to be treated.

There is help at www.migraines.org.

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Military Finding Rise in Migraines

Written by AnaLise on July 29, 2008 – 5:44 am -

The military has studied all branches to see how migraine headaches are affecting individuals across the board.  What they found is that there has been a 27% increase in migraines between 2001 and 2007, leading to more time off work and other related issues.

There are many reasons that headaches in general are of concern to the military.  Some of the main reasons are that they often come on with no warning and can end up being debilitating to the person who is suffering from them.  In addition to striking without warning, they can affect operations and they can become quite costly as a result. 

From 2002 to 2007, the incidence of migraines in males in the military increased over 60%, which is an enormous jump.  Because this has been a time period of active battle in Iraq and other areas, the increase is thought to be related to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression an/or traumatic brain injury. 

It is thought that the amount of individuals suffering from headaches – especially migraines – is actually higher than studies suggest because many individuals do not seek medical attention for the headaches, but treat them through self-medication with over the counter medications.  In addition, these numbers include only active duty personnel, they do not include those that are deployed in other areas.  This applies to personnel who received a hospital discharge or outpatient diagnosis of migraine.

Determining the number of individuals that have migraines is an important first step to helping control them.  Often, the right medication taken on a regular basis or taken at the initial onset of a migraine can prevent the migraine from becoming full-blown and debilitating.

Now that the military has gathered the information on active duty personnel, it is hoped that there will be a similar study involving deployed personnel as well.

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Migraines – Another Casualty of Insurance Limitations

Written by AnaLise on July 17, 2008 – 2:35 am -

The list of maladies that insurance doesn’t cover is growing larger, and it seems that nearly every day we hear of something else that has limited or no coverage.  While the list of the “not covered” or “just barely covered” is growing, the other list – of things that most people feel are necessary when it comes to health coverage – is dwindling.  Add to that the fact that monthly premiums for health insurance coverage has skyrocketed to the point where many cannot afford to buy coverage at all and it is a sad state of affairs which leaves too many people too vulnerable for too many conditions that need to be treated.

One of the latest casualties when it comes to insurance limitations is migraine headaches.  Years ago, there was much to be learned about migraines, so these debilitating headaches were treated with various forms of pain medication and/or tranquilizers and muscle relaxers. 

During the 80’s and 90’s newer prescription medications were developed specifically for the treatment, control and relief of migraines.  Sometimes they were used alone and sometimes in combination with pain medication and other medications.  The good news is that now in the 21st century numerous medications specifically for migraines have been developed and are available to migraine sufferers in many places throughout the U.S. and beyond.  The bad news is that many of these medications cost an arm and a leg and are covered in only a limited amount or not covered at all by heath insurance

Some migraine sufferers are limited to ten or twelve pills per month by their health insurance, and, as a result, they have to choose which migraines to use one of their precious pills on, even though they should really be using this medication on every migraine they have.  If they run out of pills during the month and have to re-order, the insurance won’t help, so it becomes an out-of-pocket expense.  The expense for some of these medications is astonishing and migraine sufferers simply can’t afford to pay for them so they continue to suffer, even though they faithfully pay their insurance premiums.

It is unfortunate that now that the medicines have been invented and are available, the insurance companies make it difficult, if not impossible, to get the medications they need.  Are migraine sufferers just the latest casualty of insurance cuts or  will something be done to get better coverage to help migraine sufferers get the medication they need?

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