In this article we would like to tell you about migraine and the work done by Migraine Action - a charitable organisation which focuses on the plight of many people who suffer from the effects of migraine.
Migraine is a condition which affects people of any age, gender and ethnic group.
Far more than ‘just a headache’, migraine affects the whole body and can result in many symptoms. Often people experience an intense throbbing headache which may affect one side of the head.
Other symptoms can include nausea and / or vomiting, confusion, visual disturbances (such as flashing lights in front of the eyes or blind spots), pins and needles, numbness, and an increased sensitivity to light, sound or smell.
If a headache is accompanied by two or more of these associated symptoms occur episodically and affect the person’s ability to continue with normal daily activities, it is probably migraine.
Many children with migraine do not experience a headache, or this may only be very mild.
They may instead complain of a bad stomach ache and also have other associated symptoms, particularly nausea and / or vomiting.
Migraine attacks can last for between 4 – 72 hours.
On average people experience around 13 attacks a year, although some people have two attacks a week and others can go for many months without an attack.
People with migraine will usually be free of symptoms between attacks.
It is believed that everyone has the capacity to suffer from migraine but, in 10-15% of the population, there is an increased susceptibility, a lower threshold at which an attack is triggered.
There is a genetic element to migraine so it can run in families.
This is not always the case and there are many internal and external factors which can ‘trigger’ a migraine.
Triggers are individual to each person but can include dehydration, stress, particular foods - for example chocolate and / or cheese, and drink - for example caffeine (coffee), low blood sugar levels (not eating regularly), hormones, bright sunlight or flashing lights, changes of weather, irregular sleep patterns or spending too long on a computer.
For many people there is not just one trigger but a combination of factors which individually can be tolerated but, when several occur together or accumulate over a short period of time, a threshold is passed, triggering an attack.
Although there is currently no cure for migraine, there is a great deal of help available to relieve the symptoms and reduce the severity and frequency of attacks.
These include over the counter and prescribed medications (both to help during an attack and to help preventative attacks) and complementary therapies.
Many simple life-style tips can also make a huge difference, including keeping hydrated, eating healthily and regularly, maintaining regular sleep patterns, taking regular breaks from the computer / making sure your place of work is comfortable and if you work at a desk this is set up correctly, making time for relaxation and exercise, and wearing sunglasses in bright sunlight.
Migraine Facts And Figures
- One in seven people in the UK suffer from migraine;
- Migraine is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined;
- Migraine affects twice as many women as men;
- Migraine affects people of all ages (even young children) and all social classes;
- Migraine is more than just a headache. Other symptoms can include visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, noise or smell;
- A migraine attack can last for between 4 and 72 hours;
- Migraineurs experience an average of 13 attacks each year;
- An estimated 190,000 people have a migraine attack every day in the UK;
- Every day more than 100,000 people are absent from work or school in the UK as a result of migraine;
- Migraine costs the UK around £2.25 billion per annum;
- The World Health Organisation has rated migraine amongst the top 20 most disabling lifetime conditions.
Migraine Action: helping migraineurs across the UK for over fifty years
Migraine Action is a national charity (registered no: 207783) which has been offering support to people with migraine and their families for over fifty years.
This charity aims to bridge the gap between people affected by migraine and the medical world by providing unbiased information on all aspects of migraine.
Migraine Action also works to raise awareness about the realities of living with migraine amongst the general public and raises funds to support specialist migraine clinics and research into the diagnosis, treatment and cure of migraine and other headache disorders.
Migraine Action can offer support and advice via a telephone helpline, numerous leaflets on all aspects of migraine, an informative website, a members’ newsletter and access to a specialist nurse telephone helpline service.
Migraine Action can also help to reduce the isolation that migraine can cause by putting members in touch with other people affected, including via its pen pal service.
Migraine Action receives no funding from the Government and must raise £350,000 each year to continue to offer its services.
If you contact Migraine Action as a result of reading this article, please feel free to mention T Austin and simsurprise.co.uk as your source of reference.
Migraine Action and the Migraine Action Logo are registered and copyright trademarks of Migraine Action, registered United Kingdom Charity Number 207783. The Migraine Action Logo is used here with the kind permission of Migraine Action - many thanks to Migraine Action from T Austin and SIMsurprise.co.uk