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Migraine Headache

Headache - migraine

Definition

A migraine is a common type of headache that may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. In many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of the head.

Some people who get migraines have warning symptoms, called an aura, before the actual headache begins. An aura is a group of symptoms, usually vision disturbances, that serve as a warning sign that a bad headache is coming. Most people, however, do not have such warning signs.

See also:

. Migraine without aura (no warning symptoms)
. Migraine with aura (visual disturbances before the headache starts)
. Mixed tension migraine (features of both migraines and tension headache)

Causes

A lot of people get migraines -- about 11 out of 100. The headaches tend to start between the ages of 10 and 46 and may run in families. Migraines occur more often in women than men. Pregnancy may reduce the number of migraines attacks. At least 60 percent of women with a history of migraines have fewer such headaches during the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

Until the 1980s, scientists believed that migraines were due to changes in blood vessels within the brain. Today, most believe the attack actually begins in the brain itself, and involves various nerve pathways and chemicals in the brain.

A migraine attack can be triggered by stress, food, environmental changes, or some other factor. However, the exact chain of events remains unclear.

Migraine attacks may be triggered by:

. Allergic reactions
. Bright lights, loud noises, and certain odors or perfumes
. Physical or emotional stress
. Changes in sleep patterns
. Smoking or exposure to smoke
. Skipping meals
. Alcohol
. Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills
. Tension headaches
. Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami)
. Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods

Symptoms

Migraine headaches, which can be dull or severe, usually:

. Feel throbbing, pounding, or pulsating
. Are worse on one side of the head
. Last 6 to 48 hours

Symptoms accompanying migraines include:

. Nausea and vomiting
. Sensitivity to light or sound
. Loss of appetite
. Fatigue
. Numbness, tingling, or weakness Warning signs (auras) that can precede a migraine include seeing stars or zigzag lines, tunnel vision, or a temporary blind spot.

Symptoms that may linger even after the migraine has gone away include:

. Feeling mentally dull, like your thinking is not clear or sharp
. Increased need for sleep
. Neck pain

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Neurology Medical Center

Neurology Medical Center of South Orange County California serves patients in all South Orange County Communities including
Aliso Viejo, Capistrano Beach, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, East Irvine, El Toro, Foothill Ranch, Irvine,
Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Silverado, Trabuco Canyon and Tustin.

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