If you've never been around someone who has migraines, you may not know how painful and debilitating they can be. If you have, or you are a victim, you are well aware, and work to avoid known triggers as much as possible. There are a lot of myths out there about these headaches. Let's see if we can clear any of them up.

1) Can they cause life threatening medical conditions ? Yes, there is a connection between migraines both strokes and heart disease. In fact, your risk of heart disease doubles if you suffer from this debilitating condition. It's a good idea to keep close tabs on your heart health, and eat a healthy diet. Any episode lasting longer than seventy-two hours or accompanied by a more intense pain than usual should be seen by a doctor.

2) Are they gender oriented ? Yes and no. Most of the people who suffer from migraines are women, by a three to one margin. Men can and do have this problem also.

3) Is it all in your head ? This is a definite neurological disorder, not a psychological problem. Counseling is irrevocably to cure someone with this disorder.

4) Can only Type A personalities have this condition ? As with the question about psychological causes, personality type is not an indicator of who or is not likely to suffer from migraines.

5) It's just a headache, everyone gets them, right ? Wrong, there are differences between “normal” headaches and migraines. The latter has many symptoms unrelated to so called normal headaches. There is often an aura precedent an episode. During it, there is unusual sensitivity to light and sound, along with nausea and vomiting. They can last for from four to seventy-two hours.

There are many factors when it comes down to migraines. Heredity plays a role, so if one or both parents have the problem, then you are at risk for developing it, even if you do not have it now.

Triggers are the most likely means of starting an episode. Light, sound and barometric pressure are some triggers, but by far the most common are food related. Anything with high amounts of l-tyramine can cause an episode. Caffeine and sulfites are also common causes. Many patients who have cut these out of their diets report a significant reduction in the number and length of an episode.

Your doctor can prescribe some medications that may help deal with the problem, and there is one herbal supplement that could be beneficial. Some studies indicate that dried feverfew taken through a capsule could prevent and reduce the impact of migraines. This is an issue best discussed with your doctor, as a complete medical history is needed. You should mention any other medical conditions you have and any medications / supplements you take. This will help the doctor provide the best possible treatment.