KENILWORTH, N.J., Jan. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- For many migraine sufferers, the onset of a migraine headache can be unexpected, severe and debilitating. While some migraine episodes can be minor, others leave people incapacitated and unable to work or perform daily activities.
What's more, those living with migraines tend to encounter a host of misconceptions, many of which minimize the severity of the disease or fail to acknowledge the challenging treatment landscape. Although more than 12 percent of Americans suffer from migraines, there is a tremendous amount of incorrect or conflicting information that has led to a widespread misunderstanding of the disease.
To provide clarity, Dr. Stephen Silberstein, MD, Director of the Headache Center at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, highlighted four things people should understand about migraines on MerckManuals.com.
1. Migraines run in the family
While a family presence doesn't guarantee someone will suffer migraines, there is a genetic predisposition associated with increased brain sensitivity which often results in the passing on of migraines from one generation to the next. While behavior can trigger individual episodes, migraine is a hereditary disease which is most effectively diagnosed and managed through medical-based treatment options guided by a qualified physician.
2. A migraine is more than a headache
Migraine episodes can cause severe physical symptoms beyond intense head pain, including nausea, dizziness, vomiting, sensitivity to light, gastrointestinal distress, vertigo, and even paralysis in parts of the body.
Yet not all migraines produce these symptoms, which is why many people mistake a migraine for a sinus headache. If a headache presents in the sinus area without fever or congestion, it is likely a migraine. Similarly, mild migraine headaches are often thought to be tension headaches and therefore not treated properly or early enough.
3. Migraines have no gender bias
While there is some perception that migraines are a disease that only affect women, there is no truth to that assertion. Migraines are a disorder of men, women, and children. It is important to understand that migraines are a life altering disease that can affect anyone.
4. There's no silver bullet for migraine treatment
Most migraine sufferers are on a lifelong journey to understand their triggers and find the right combination of routine, diet, and clinical treatments that are the most likely means of controlling their migraine episodes. Many patients seeking relief turn to alternative and emerging therapies such as acupuncture and Botox, which work for some migraine sufferers.
One promising new treatment for the prevention of migraines is called calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) antagonist. These drugs are antibodies designed to counteract the effect of the CGRP chemical that comes out of nerve endings in the body – causing migraines.
Understanding drives action
Migraines are disabling. They interfere with people's social lives, their ability to go to work, and in many cases their ability to live a "normal" life. Making matters worse, migraines are often misunderstood or underestimated by the general public – and even some physicians. It's critical that a migraine sufferer's family, peers, and healthcare providers take migraines seriously and provide needed support.
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