It might be more than just a headache

June is National Migraine Awareness Month and the National Headache Foundation (NHF) has partnered with CBS Los Angeles reporter Serene Branson to launch “More Than Just a Headache,” a new campaign aimed at educating the public on the personal and societal costs of migraines while providing resources for the nearly 30 million migraine patients and their families across the country.
Branson’s migraine attack while reporting on a popular music award show in February brought to light the serious and frightening symptoms of a complex migraine. Today, she is sharing her experience to help the millions of Americans who are still in the dark about the significant toll that migraines have on patients and their families.
Migraines are the most common type of headache associated with in-patient stays, comprising 63.1 percent of all hospital stays with headache as a first-listed diagnosis, according to the NHF website.
More than 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraine, with women being affected three times more often than men. This vascular headache is most commonly experienced between the ages of 15 and 55, and 70-80 percent of sufferers have a family history of migraine. Less than half of all migraine sufferers have received a diagnosis of migraine from their healthcare provider. Migraine is often misdiagnosed as sinus headache or tension-type headache.
Nine out of 10 migraine sufferers reported they could not function normally on the day on which a migraine occurred, and nearly three in 10 require bed rest.
Many factors can trigger migraine attacks, such as alteration of sleep-wake cycle; missing or delaying a meal; medications that cause a swelling of the blood vessels; daily or near daily use of medications designed for relieving headache attacks; bright lights, sunlight, fluorescent lights, TV and movie viewing; certain foods; and excessive noise. Stress and underlying depression are important trigger factors that can be diagnosed and treated adequately.
Migraine characteristics can include:
. Pain typically on one side of the head
. Pain has a pulsating or throbbing quality
. Moderate to intense pain affecting daily activities
. Nausea or vomiting
. Sensitivity to light or sound
. Attacks last four to 72 hours, sometimes longer
. Visual disturbances or aura
. Exertion such as climbing stairs makes headache worse
There are a host of alternative choices for patients whose headaches do not respond to the first line medications. These include calcium channel blockers, a variety of antidepressants and several miscellaneous medications.
Approximately 30 percent of migraine sufferers said they did not participate in a family or social activity due to a migraine and every day in the U.S., approximately 430,000 people are unable to work due to migraines, equaling about 157 million workdays lost annually. Meanwhile, the nation’s industries lose $31 billion per year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses associated to this neurological disorder.
Patients and their families are encouraged visit for more information NHF and migraines.

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Posted by on Jun 18 2011. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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