Types of Migraines You Don’t Always Hear About

Written by AnaLise on September 10, 2008 – 8:01 am -

Most of us have heard about or experienced a migraine headache in our lifetime.  We know about the nausea, the pounding pain in the head, the sensitivity to light and many of the other symptoms that can occur.  We know about lying down in a quiet dark room and taking whatever medication – usually prescribed by our physician – that will help.

What most of us don’t know about and have not heard about are types of migraines that don’t have the usual migraine symptoms and are not easily identified or diagnosed.

One type of migraine is called an abdominal migraine.  These migraines affect both children and adults and, rather than having severe headache, the symptoms are severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and is caused by changes in the levels of histamine and serotonin in the body.  The symptoms are decreased or eliminated by some of the common migraine prevention medications.

Other migraines don’t involve headaches at all, but involve symptoms from temporary blindness to stomach pain to temporary paralysis.  Since there are no actual tests for these migraines, they are often misdiagnosed as a virus, mini-stroke, epilepsy or even appendicitis.  It can be dangerous to diagnose and treat these migraines, as the wrong medication could be harmful, if not, fatal.

Basilar migraines are migraines that have severe dizziness, vomiting, ringing in the ears, diarrhea, slurred speech and fainting.  At least three of these symptoms occur together in Basilar migraines.  The symptoms last for an hour or so and are following by terrible throbbing headaches on both sides of the head that can last up to 72 hours.  These can be confused for epilepsy, and the patient should see a neurologist for treatment.  There are various medications available.

Hemiplegic migraine involves temporary paralysis and pins and needles on one side of the body including the face, arms and legs. There can be slurred speech, confusion and vision problems, and all of this is followed by the actual headache.  These can be confused with stroke or mini-stroke and medications can help, but typical triptans which are used for migraines should usually not be used to treat these migraines.

Retinal migraines involve temporary blindness in one eye or seeing spots along with or followed by the migraine headache.  Doctors do not understand this condition, but feel it is often linked to over-exercise or over exertion and can be mistaken for blood clots in the eye.

Status migraines are the same as migraines but differ in the fact that they last at least 72 hours or can last for weeks.  These migraines are often due to some of the painkillers used or may be happening because the migraine medications being used are not working well.  Changing medication can eliminate or greatly reduce these headaches.  These headaches, however, can be serious enough to require hospitalization.

The information regarding and identifying different types of migraines is important for all of us to know.  It can help us avoid pain and could even save our life or the life of someone we know.  If you experience any of these symptoms make sure to discuss them with your doctor and if they cannot figure out what the problem is, let them know about what you have learned here.

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Treating Migraines As a Serious Disorder

Written by AnaLise on August 28, 2008 – 4:11 pm -

Migraines are not just “women’s” headaches any more.  Where it used to be said that women who suffer from migraines are just “overreacting” or “being too dramatic”, migraines are now being taken much more seriously.

Studies have revealed that though a higher percentage of women experience migraines, men also experience them and they are just as debilitating.  Additional studies have identified migraines suffered by children and research is being conducted regarding the implications of all types of migraines suffered regardless of age or gender.

Studies in Pakistan have recently revealed that rather than being severe headaches, migraines are responsible for triggering “mini-strokes” in some sufferers.  These findings strongly suggest that rather than migraines being episodic, they are actually part of a larger, ongoing issue which progresses until the sufferer actually experiences a major stroke.

The link between migraines and stroke is especially strong for individuals who experience migraine aura which includes seeing light flashes, spots, or other symptoms that accompany the onset of a migraine. 

Neurologists worry that migraines are being treated as individual episodes rather than an ongoing chronic and progressive disorder.  As a result, these mini strokes are going unnoticed and untreated until they result in a major stroke.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City have determined that those at most risk for mini strokes are migraine sufferers who experience frequent migraines.  Women were also found to be more at risk than men.  Reducing the frequency of migraines can reduce the likelihood of strokes.

Since strokes are twice as likely in individuals who suffer from migraines than those who do not, it is important to find viable ways to control the amount and frequency of migraines suffered.  Studies suggest that isolating the muscles involved in migraines and treating them with Botox, thus freezing them and making them unable to contract, or, if necessary, removing them through surgery, can be one approach to help migraine sufferers avoid eventually experiencing a major stroke.  Other ways to treat or eliminate the problem are being explored. 

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