Some lifestyle changes, including getting adequate sleep, the right diet, exercise, and proper rehydration can help reduce the number of times you get migraines, says Dr. Robert Sheeler, who works at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

Dr Sheeler adds that even for people who do not get frequent migraines, they can have a major impact on their lives. He suggests trying out some lifestyle changes which most likely will help reduce the number of migraine bouts you experience as well as the severity of each attack. If they still persist, you should seek medical advice on altering your treatment plan.

Migraine typically involves moderate/severe pain, usually on one side of the head. Patients commonly complain of a throbbing (pulsating) and persistent headache which becomes more severe with physical exertion, such as going up the stairs or walking up a steep hill. Other symptoms may including nausea and even vomiting, photophobia (sensitivity to light), and sensitivity and/or smells.

For some patients, the first warning sign of an impending migraine episode comes when they see bright flashes, spots, or some other kind of visual phenomenon – this is known as “aura”. A smaller number also report a feeling of numbness/tingling on one side of the body.

Migraines affect about 1 billion people globally. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 18% of women and 6% of men experience at least one bout of migraine during a 12-month period – lifetime risk is estimated at 43% and 18% respectively. In Europe, between 6% to 15% of men and 14% to 35% of women experience migraines at least once a year. In Asia and Africa migraine incidence is slightly lower than in Western nations. Between 1.4% and 2.2% of the world’s adult population suffer from chronic migraines.

Migraines linked to hormones and genes

Experts believe that hormones may influence the risk of migraine. A higher percentage of females have migraines during their reproductive years. Studies have also found that the offspring of people with frequent migraines have a higher risk of developing it themselves, meaning there is probably a genetic link.

Several triggers can bring on a migraine attack:

Alcohol
Certain foods
Dehydration
Fasting
Lack of sleep, too much sleep, irregular sleeping patterns, and restless sleep
Stress
Menstruation
Flickering lights
Certain smells, especially some perfumes
Weather – specialists at The New England Center for Headache in Stamford, CT, found that 51% of patients with headache were affected by weather

What can you do to reduce your migraine frequency…. Read more

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