Have you experienced migraine every now and then? A recent study shows that people who suffer from migraine may have a silent brain injury.
What is Migraine?
A migraine is a severely painful headache which may be accompanied by sensory warnings such as light flashes, numbness, blind spots in the vision fields, nausea, vomiting, tingling in the arms and legs and increased sensitivity to light and sound. This pain may last from hours to days and may disrupt daily activities. The migraine headache is due to blood vessel enlargements in the head and the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that surround these blood vessels.
During the migraine attack, arteries which are located outside the skull and under the skin of the temple enlarge so that this triggers the release of chemicals that cause pain, inflammation, and further dilatation of the artery. All these reactions then bring about symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms associated with migraine. Migraine may also delay gastric emptying of the stomach and food absorption; it may also decrease blood circulation on the body. There may also be increased sensitivity to sound and light.
Migraines may affect people between the age range of 15 and 55 years old. Majority of these migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine. These people are often exposed to triggers before they experience migraine attacks; these triggers may include light, allergies, stress, perfume, lack of sleep, skipping meals, foods containing MSG, foods containing tyramine, smoking and alcohol. Most of them may also experience auras before headaches while some often do not. Other triggers include menstrual cycle fluctuations, use of birth control pills, menopause, tension headaches, foods containing chocolates and nuts, bananas, citrus fruits, dairy products, fermented or pickles foods and avocado.
Signs and symptoms of migraine may include moderate to severe pain usually on one side of the head, throbbing and pulsating head pain, pain during physical activity, inability to perform daily activities, vomiting, nausea, increased sensitivity to light and sound, and auras. Auras are abnormal perceptions such as confusing thought or experiences, perception of strange or flashing lights, visual field lines, blind spots, pins and needles sensation in the arms and legs, shoulder or neck stiffness and unpleasant smells. Other symptoms include sweets cravings, drowsiness, thirst, depression, irritability or increased energy.
Migraine and Silent Brain Injury
A recent study has shown that older migraine suffers are more likely to have silent brain injury. The results of this research are published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke. In this new study, people with a history of migraine have increased risk of having ischemic silent brain infarction as compared to people who do not experience migraines. Silent brain infarction is also known as silent stroke and is a risk factor for future more dangerous strokes. The researchers also found out that high blood pressure was also common among people who often suffer from migraine headaches. This is interesting because high blood pressure is also an important risk factor for stroke. The study also found out that migraines with aura were not so common among migraine sufferers who developed silent ischemia. This only means that risk factors should be controlled among older migraine sufferers.