What is Migraine?
» Migraine is a disease of the brain in which certain triggers such as bright lights, stress, skipping meals, or changes in sleep can lead to attacks of
headache or other symptoms.
» The attacks often begin with a warning phase that may be include symptoms such as yawning, neck pain, tiredness, or sensitivity to light, noise, or
odors known as the PRODROME.
» The attacks may, in one-third of people with migraine, then proceed into an AURA phase before the headache. The most common type of aura consists
of visual symptoms such as seeing flashing lights, squiggly lines, or losing small areas of vision. The aura may also be associated with tingling/numbness
on one side of the face and hand or difficulty understanding or expressing speech.
» The HEADACHE phase of migraine is often moderate or severe pain and can be really awful!! - painful enough to cause kids to miss school and
activities with family and friends.
» Head pain is often made worse with routine activities (e.g., walking, climbing stairs)
» In addition to headache, migraine attacks often come with sensitivity to light and sound (sometimes smells too!), and may also cause nausea or vomiting.
» Migraine attacks may also be associated with sinus pain or pressure, neck pain, dizziness, difficulty with concentration, anxiety, and other changes in mood.
» After the headache, people may get tired, have trouble concentrating, or head pain with movement, coughing, or straining in a phase known as POSTDROME.
» Migraine headaches last about 24 hours (range of 1 hour to 3 days), but an attack includes all phases and, from beginning to end, can last several
days or more!
Migraine - Who Gets It?
» Forty to sixty million Americans (!!!), about 15-20% of the population, suffer from migraine headaches.
» Migraine occurs in 10.2% of children and as many as 28% of older teens.
» Migraine will resolve in 17-34% of adolescents, persist in 20-48%, and transform into other headache types in 11-37%.
» Migraine is three times more common in women than men. Migraine affects 43% of women over a lifetime.
» Although most people with migraine have a few attacks or less per month, 3% of the population have chronic migraine. Chronic means at least 15 days
of headache each month for at least six months.
» Up to 34.6% of children referred to headache centers suffer from chronic daily headache.
» EARLY TREATMENT OF MIGRAINE IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS CAN STOP IT FROM BECOMING CHRONIC DAILY HEADACHE AND IMPROVE
OR MAYBE ELIMINATE HEADACHES AS AN ADULT!!
Migraine - How Does it Affect Me?
» Migraine costs the United States more than $20 billion each year!
» The World Health Organization places migraine as one of the 20 most disabling medical illnesses on the planet.
» Chronic migraine is even more disabling.
» Those with migraine are more likely to have depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, other pain conditions, and fatigue.
» People who have a history of experiencing an aura phase have been shown to be at an increased risk for stroke and heart attack.
What Can I Do?
» Get help!! Find a headache specialist or neurologist in your area to help get your headaches under control so that you can have the best chance of
your headaches improving as you get older instead of getting worse.
» Improve your lifestyle!! Migraine brains are very sensitive, and you can help your brain by keeping it healthy. Drink lots of fluids and avoid caffeine.
Eat regular meals, lots of green leafy vegetables, and diets rich in meats and fishes. Get a good night's sleep every night, and sleep on a regular
schedule - the same time to bed every night, and the same time up every morning. And exercise - at least 3-4 times a week for 30-40 minutes each time.
Your brain will thank you for it!
To find out more, check out Dr. Cohen's video series on migraine at: www.healthguru.com/expert/joshua-cohen-m-d-m-p-h
Want to learn more? In this lecture, Dr. Cohen teaches neurologists about key features in the diagnosis and management of migraine in adolescents: http://cme.chpnyc.org/specialties/neurology/adolescent-migraine-epidemiology-diagnosis-and-treatment