6 Things You Need to Know About Migraine

1. Migraine is a disease, not a headache

A migraine is not just a headache. Migraine is a neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms. For many years, scientists believed that migraines were linked to the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the head. It is now believed that migraine has a genetic cause.

2. Migraine is much more than a bad headache

Head pain is not the only symptom of a migraine. Because migraine is a neurological disease, it can affect many parts of the body. Attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following disabling symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face. About 25% of migraine sufferers also have a visual disturbance called an aura, which usually lasts less than an hour.

Not everyone has all of these symptoms, and they can vary in each person during different migraine attacks. It’s even possible to have a migraine attack with no pain at all.

3. Migraine is more common than asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy combined

There are approximately 1 billion Migraine sufferers around the world. Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness worldwide.

Migraine is very common in the United States. 39 million Americans suffer from migraines. This means 12% of the population experiences Migraine, including children. And 1 in every 1 in 4 households includes someone with the condition.

4. Children, even babies, get migraines

Migraine often goes undiagnosed in children. Approximately 10% of school-age children suffer from migraine.

Half of all migraine sufferers have their first attack before the age of 12. In babies, it has been shown that colic is an early sign of migraine. Babies with colic can also be more sensitive to sounds and smells.

In childhood, boys suffer from migraine more often than girls; as adolescence approaches, the incidence increases more rapidly in girls than in boys. In young children, migraine can present as vertigo (spinning sensation), dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and car sickness.

5. Migraines run in families

About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine. Someone with one parent with migraines has a 50% chance of inheriting them. If both parents have them, the chance of developing migraines rises to 75%.

6. Women have migraines more than men

Women are more likely to have migraines than men; migraine affects approximately 28 million women in the U.S. Roughly 1 in 4 women will experience migraine in their lives. This may be due to fluctuating hormones, like estrogen.

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