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Everything you Need to Know About Migraine
Medical Review by Headache Specialist Dr. Katherine Hamilton
Men, women, and kids worldwide know the Migraine struggle is real! Migraine disease is incredibly common and incredibly misunderstood. The struggle for information and understanding can be nearly as tough as Migraine itself.
We understand how overwhelming it can be to try to make sense of your symptoms and the conflicting info out there.
That’s why we put together this roadmap with the important evidence-based facts about Migraine.
Understanding exactly what you’re dealing with is the first step to making good choices about your care.
Fact #1: Migraine Is a Disease, Not a Headache
Simply put – Migraine is not just a headache.
Migraine is a neurological condition that is frequently disabling. It comes with a slew of symptoms that extend far beyond the head.
“One of the very big myths about Migraine is that it’s just a headache,” explains Dr. Peter Goadsby of NIHR-Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility, “That’s completely wrong.”
Neurological condition…wait what?
“Migraine is a disorder of the brain, and it’s a disorder not just of sensory attention. What’s often forgotten are the phases that occur before a Migraine, the premonitory or prodromal phase of the attack where sufferers will have cognitive dysfunction,” Dr. Goadsby told Migraine Again.
Condition and disease are both used to describe Migraine. Those who are most severely impacted may prefer to call it a disease to capture the full impact.
Fact #2: Migraine is More Common than Asthma, Diabetes, and Epilepsy Combined
There are millions of Migraine warriors around the world.
- Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness worldwide.
- It ranks 6th in the world for debilitating illnesses, says the Migraine Research Foundation. (https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/’>1).
In the United States (U.S.) it’s common.
- 12% of the population experiences Migraine, including children.
- Every 1 in 4 households includes someone with Migraine (. Facts and Figures.’>2).
Fact #3: WOMEN ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED
Migraine disproportionately affects genders and ages.
In the US, 6% of men experience Migraine, compared to 18% of women (https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/’>3).
Hormones like estrogen likely account for the disparity between men and women.
Fact #4: EVEN BABIES CAN HAVE MIGRAINE
Most people with Migraine are between the ages of 25 and 55, but it affects kids, too (https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/’>4). Emerging research suggests that fussy, colicky babies may actually be experiencing Migraine symptoms.
“There does seem to be a connection between infant colic and Migraine in childhood,” explained Dr. Amy Gelfand of the University of California, San Francisco to Migraine Again.
“Mothers who have Migraine are more likely to have a baby with colic,” she explained.
Babies with colic are also more sensitive to sounds and smells, her research found.
While the colic may pass, Migraine probably won’t. Babies with colic will likely turn into children with Migraine, says Dr. Gelfand.
Early signs of Migraine in Kids Include Head Tilting
Children will get early warning signs before their attacks. Sometimes they become fatigued and yawn excessively before the pain hits. They will often try to retreat to the dark. Children with Migraine frequently have tummy trouble, too.
Another early warning sign of Migraine in children may be benign paroxysmal torticollis. This condition is typically seen in babies as young as 4 months and in preschool children. Symptoms include things like:
- Head tilt
- Decreased appetite