Migraine Myths; BUSTED!

The Mirror (London, England), September 18, 2018 | Go to article overview

Migraine Myths; BUSTED!


Byline: SUSAN GRIFFIN

CHANCES are you're either someone who suffers from migraine or knows someone who does - the condition affects around 14.7% of the world's population, making it more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined.

In the UK alone, it's thought there are more than 190,000 migraine attacks every day. However, relatively little is understood about the triggers and treatment for migraine.

With the help of Susan Haydon, Information Manager at Migraine Trust (migrainetrust.org), here we take a closer look at the most common myths:

Myth: Migraine is just a bad headache

Migraine is a complex condition with symptoms varying for each person. The main feature is a onesided throbbing headache that can last up to 72 hours, with what doctors call features. This can mean nausea, vomiting and an abnormal level of sensitivity to typical levels of sight, sound and smell.

There are two sub-types - migraine without aura, which is the most common, and migraine with aura, which can include visual disturbances, such as blind spots, and affects about 20% of sufferers.

Myth: Men and women of all ages are equally likely to suffer them

During their reproductive years, women are about three times more likely to have migraine attacks than men. Research suggests it's because of fluctuations in the female hormone oestrogen.

As it is an episodic condition, some people will find they go through a period of continuous improvement and then it returns later in life. But, in general, migraine becomes less severe with age.

Myth: Lifestyle choices won't affect an attack

There's no known cause for migraine, apart from being genetically predisposed, but it's thought it can be triggered by some aspect of change.

The migrainous brain doesn't like change as it has a problem processing sensory information.

Triggers can include hunger (not eating enough or not eating regularly), travel, stress - and - relaxation after a stressful time - and too much or too little sleep.

A migrainous b rain likes someone to have a nice routine, get up at the same time, have breakfast and go to bed at the same time too , etc.

Myth: Eating chocolate and cheese can help trigger migraine There's no evidence for this. It's very likely that in the early stages of the migraine attack, before the person is aware it has started, symptoms often include a craving to eat chocolate, cheese or starchy food.

It can seem that eating the food has caused the migraine, but it's the other way around. …

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