In this article we would like to tell you about migraine and the work done by the Migraine Trust - a registered charity founded in 1965 whose mission is to promote research into Migraine and reduce the burden of Migraine on sufferers.

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.

Migraine attacks can last for between 4 – 72 hours.

It is estimated that Migraineurs spend 5.3% of their lifetime experiencing a Migraine attack.

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 12 attacks each year;
  • 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;
  • Migraine is ranked globally as the seventh most disabling disease among diseases and the leading cause of disability among neurological disorders.

The Migraine Trust: helping migraineurs across the UK for over fifty years

The Migraine Trust is a national charity (registered in England and Wales: no.: 1081300 and in Scotland, No.: SC042911) has been offering support to people with migraine and their families for over fifty years.

The Migraine Trust receives their funding through donations from individuals, grant making bodies, and corporate supporters.

For more information on migraine, the migraine Trust and how you can support the charity’s work by visiting www.migrainetrust.org.uk

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