It is estimated that just over one billion people worldwide suffer from migraines and the condition affects the female population far more than the male population. Migraines are very detrimental in the lives of all those who suffer from them. Even with the advanced levels of medical technology today, migraines still have not been studied, diagnosed, or treated in a satisfactory manner. Moreover, people pay no heed to headaches which could easily be a migraine, often ignoring the pain and assuming that it is just a temporary headache that will eventually take care of itself.
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a severe headache that is significantly related to vascular headaches which will often start on one side of the head and then spread and increase to other parts of the head .. A person suffering from a migraine will often experience nausea, vomiting and have a strong sensitivity to light and sound. It is also quite common for the
hands and feet of the victim to turn cold and sweaty. In general, the ache will rise gradually to an intense level of pain, before settling to a certain level.
The pain is caused by 'vasodilation', which is when the expansion of blood vessels and chemicals released from the nerve fibers which curl around them, combine.
The temporal artery which is located outside the skull and under the skin of the fore-head expands itself during the migraine attack. It is this expansion of the temporal artery which stresses and stretches the nerves around it, forcing them to release certain chemicals. It is these chemicals which cause the pain and inflammation and may also cause the artery to expand further, which again amplifies the pain.
Causes of Migraines
There are many factors that can cause migraine headaches and a 'migraine trigger' is the main reason which will pilot a headache in a person who is to whiche trigger that may be. Most people affected by migraines are generally unable to identify the reasons for a migraine, but there are many triggers that may lead to migraines – such as excessive stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, poor quality sleep, skipping meals, flickering or bright lights, eating chocolates and caffeine consumption. There is often a time gap which can vary from a few hours to a couple of days between exposure to a trigger and the actual migraine attack.
Skipping breakfast or lunch: If you are fasting or dieting by skipping breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you are increasing your chances of getting a migraine. Fasting will cause a release of stress-related hormones and will also lower blood sugar levels .. People who suffer from migraines should avoid fasting and skipping meals.
Exposure of Eyes to Bright Light: A migraine attack can also be brought on if one presents their eyes to a very bright light or some other high-intensity visual stimuli. Bright lights not only affect migraine patients but also affect non migraine sufferers. Direct exposure to sunlight, vehicle headlights or watching television for too long can also precipitate migraine headaches.
Caffeine Consumption: Caffeine is present in many products that we consume daily like coffee, chocolates, tea, cola, and OTC analgesics. Caffeine can actually be good for health if consumed in low quantities, but if consumed in excess, it can cause insomnia, headaches, anxiety and irritability.
Sleep: Migraine headaches can also be caused by sleep deprivation or if one is sleeping more than necessary. Poor quality of sleep, which includes waking up at short intervals through the night can also cause migraines. Well-planned sleeping routines have been proven to decrease the frequency of headaches. Quality sleep can also help to reduce the duration of a migraine.
Hormones in Women: With the female population, hormonal changes may also induce migraines for many women. The sufferer may experience what is known as a 'menstrual migraine' which is a headache that occurs before, during or immediately after a period.
As there is no medical cure for migraines, it is highly advised by doctors to keep away from all migraine triggers.