The risk factors for migraine are typically: being of childbearing years, being female, obviously (since 75% of the people that have migraines are women), genetics - if you have two parents that have migraines, you have a 60% chance of getting migraines. If you have one parent, I think it goes down to about 40%. But again, it may or may not actually occur - something has to turn it on. If you have some sort of trauma, neck or head injury, the risks increase. Although that's not necessarily 100% - it kind of depends. Decreased sleep can sometimes turn on migraines as well. Lifestyle habits, such as not drinking or eating consistently.
There are lots of organizations available to help migraine patients, but mostly it's just for education. There is American Headache Society, which is a national group of providers that are interested in helping patients and they have a provider website as well as a patient website. There's National Headache Foundation, again - mostly patient education on that website. If a patient ends up getting botox, Allergan (the company that makes Botox) has a website available for patients to read about. Even Mayo clinic has a great website about headaches.
Headache is certainly one of the most common come pain complaints that afflicts humans. There are many, many causes. Stress - the so-called tension headache. It often turns out that tension headaches are more complex, but certainly people under a lot of stress or pressure often experience headaches. Migraines are very, very common. This is essentially a malfunction of the nerves in the surface of the brain and the cortex of the brain, and at times the malfunction can even be observed or witnessed by the patient because they may get what we call an aura - flashing lights in their vision or waves of out-of-focus vision. Sometimes they get other sensations that are a sign that the nervous system is malfunctioning and that often will trigger a cascade effect that will lead to the patient having a fairly severe headache.
A migraine is not easy to define, but there is the basic definition, which changes every few years. American Headache Society and International Headache Society has defined that for us and you'll hear different ways it's defined and sometimes that's even confusing for patients. A migraine with aura, migraine without aura, a typical migraine, or even hemiplegic migraine - all these different topics and it just kind of defines as to what are the associated symptoms, or the things that go along with the migraine. But the defining thing is pain. It doesn't have to be one sided or both sided. We used to kind of believe that - it can be both or one sided. We define that as typically throbbing type of pain or a pulsating type of pain. It has to be fairly disabling. It's not what people would call a low-grade pain, it has to be fairly disabling where you don't feel like you can really go on with your day.
The latest research on Migraines is a little bit sad. There's not enough research being done in migraines. The money is not going into migraines compared to all of the other disease processes. So there's not much being done from a prevention standpoint. There is some research going into a board of medications and, in fact, a new medication came out last week - it's not actually a new medication but a new delivery system. It's a Triptan (like we talked about) but in a patch form, so that should be interesting. A lot of the medications that are being studied now are different types of abortive medications to work on those neurotransmitters that we talked about that cause some of the migraines.
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