If you thought that your migraine headaches were a condition experienced by a few unfortunate people around you, think again. You have plenty of company in your suffering.

According to The World Health Organization, migraine headaches are one of the top 20 disabling illnesses on the planet.

The American Migraine Foundation estimates that in the US alone, 36 million people suffer from migraine headaches. That's 12% of the country's population.

Migraine headaches are 3 times more common in women than in men. In the course of their lifetime, as many as 30% of women will suffer from migraines.

However, an estimated 12 million American men suffer from migraine headaches.

While this illness is obviously not limited to women, there are few men who would call their place of work to report that they are staying home because of a migraine headache. That would be an admission of fatigue. Men are supposedly to be strong, not bothered by such minor things as a headache.

Yet this illness can be extremely debilitating, making it hazardous to drive, and almost impossible to be productive at the office, or other place of work.

In spite of the large numbers of people suffering from this illness, medical researchers have not found the cause of the classic migraine headache. In theory, chemicals in the brain are believed to be out of balance with other chemicals including serotonin and other minerals, especially magnesium.

While the precise workings of a migraine headache are not yet know, medical professionals have identified factors in the environment that trigger the onset of a migraine. These triggers affect people who are susceptible to migraines, yet they have no impact on people who do not suffer from this illness.

Women who suffer from migraine headaches can experience the onset of a migraine as a result of fluctuations in estrogen in their bodies. Therefore, they often suffer migraines during their periods, as they experience a significant shift in estrogen levels. Pregnancy can also be a time of susceptibility to migraines due to hormonal changes. The same is true in menopause.

Some foods are known to cause migraines in both men and women, namely beer, red wine, aged cheese, chocolate and caffeine to name a few. Interestingly, caffeine is also recommended by neurologists as a natural remedy for severe headaches. Skipping meals and fasting are also migraine triggers. This suggests that any imbalance in body chemistry can be a cause of migraines for people who suffer from this illness.

Environmental factors such as stress, loud noise, and bright sun light can also trigger migraines.

Weather fluctuations and their impact on barometric pressure are known to affect people suffering from arthritis, but they also negatively affect people who suffer from migraines.

Headaches regardless of stress or migraines result in expansion and contraction of blood vessels. Migraines cause an expansion of blood vessels, while stress headaches contract blood vessels.

Migraine headache symptoms include a variety of conditions, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Sensitivity to light and loud noises is also quite common.

Research has shown that a deficient level of magnesium in the body seems to be a factor that brings on migraines. Thus, maintaining a normal level of magnesium gives migraine sufferers hope in reducing the frequency of this illness.

Magnesium is needed for many functions in the human body. Imbalance in this mineral can cause mood swings, depression. heart palpitations, muscle cramps, migraines, just to name a few effects.

As mentioned above, a very high percentage of migraine sufferers experience accessibility to perform normal daily tasks, including those required at work. This is also the case for students trying to keep up their required performance at school, and their inability to do so with the onset of a migraine.

Even though migraine causes are not well identified, there is sufficient knowledge in the medical community to help migraine sufferers to cope with their affliction, and avoid the triggers that can cause them.

Unfortunately some migraine remedies produce such severe, unpleasant side effects that people suffering from migraines often have to decide whether the migraine, or the migraine medication side effects are most tolerable.

The efforts of medical professionals, and the dedication of those involved in scientific research are a ray of hope for people suffering from this uncontrollable and debilitating condition.