UAE: Headache is the ninth most common reason in the world for a person to consult a physician and migraine accounts for 64 per cent of these headaches in females and 43 per cent in males, according to Dr Kamal Bhalla, Specialist, Internal Medicine, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah.
More than 2/3rd of migraine patients are women. Migraine is a chronic recurring headache disorder that usually starts in adolescence or young adulthood. It comes in attacks that last for few hours to few days. An attack of migraine typically begins with some vision disturbances in the form of bright zigzag lines or defects in the vision — this is called ‘aura’ which lasts for a few minutes and is followed by a throbbing one-sided headache. However, more commonly these attacks occur without an aura and may be associated with nausea or vomiting.
The migraine headache usually increases with physical activity, bright light and loud noise. The headache is often relieved by sleep or vomiting. Migraine attacks can be very distressing and troublesome, but are rarely serious. The frequency of these headaches can vary from rare to almost daily episodes.
Diagnosis of migraine is made on the basis of symptoms and usually no tests are required in patients with typical symptoms. However, your physician may want to do certain tests especially if:
In such cases brain imaging techniques like CT or MRI scan and other tests may be warranted.
Treatment of migraine is simple and consists of the following.
Abortive therapy — It aims to treat a headache that has already started. Simple analgesics may usually suffice when headache attacks are infrequent.
Preventive therapy — it seeks to reduce the frequency and severity of headache when attacks are more frequent.
It is important to know that once a headache has started, the treatment is most effective if given within 15 minutes of onset and when pain is still mild.
Another point to note is that there are certain factors or triggers which can precipitate an attack. These may include:
Different people have different triggers and maintaining a daily diary can help identify such triggers. Avoiding these triggers is an effective and inexpensive way to reduce the migraine attacks.
© Khaleej TimesMay 2013