Byline: Dr. Gary S. Sy
A MIGRAINE headache is a vascular headache that involves the excessive dilation or contraction of the brain's blood vessels. There are two types of migraine - common and classic. The common migraine occurs slowly, producing a throbbing pain that may last two to 72 hours. The pain is severe and is often centered at the temple or behind the ear. Alternatively, it can begin at the back of the head and spread to one entire side of the head (the word "migraine" comes from the greek word "hemicrana," which means "helf skull"). It is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and tingling and numbness in the limbs that can last up to 18 hours.
A classic migraine is similar to a common migraine, but it is preceded by a set of symptoms referred to as an aura, which can consist of speech disorders, weakness, and disturbances in the senses of vision and /or smell.
Who get migraine?
Migraine, which usually starts during the teenage years or in early adult life, affects approximately 10 percent of the population. It affects more women than men - the ratio is 3:1. At least 60 percent of the population with migraine have their first attack before the age of 40. For most people, the migraine starts during their teens or early twenties. It is rare for migraine to start in people over the age of 50.
Although doctors do not know why people get migraine, it is known that certain factors are involved in triggering an attack. Most people have read or been told that they should avoid cheese, chocolate, and red wine if they have migraine.
Unfortunately, for most people simply avoiding certain food is insufficient to prevent the attacks.
Twenty percent of sufferers link certain foods to their migraine. The most common foods are chocolates, cheese, citrus fruits, commonly referred to as three C's. Alcohol, particularly red wine, is also a recognized trigger.
Missing meals, snack or eating sugary snaks instead of a proper meal can all lead to an attack. Breakfast is a particularly important meal.
Changes in sleep pettern - sleepless nights, overwork and too many late nights can result in becoming over-tired and may trigger a migraine.
Hormonal changes in woman - many woman relate their attracts to the menstrual cycle and may have had their first migraine around the time of their first period. Taking oral contraceptives may aggravate migraine.
Head and neck pain - muscle tension at the head and neck can cause headache as well as trigger migraine. …