Migraine is an inherited neurological disorder that is characterized by hyperexcitable brain networks that may be triggered by a variety of stimuli (e.g. alcohol, menstruation, fragrances, light glare), or become active spontaneously, even during sleep, leading to attacks.
The clearest way to describe a migraine is that it is a headache that is severe. The diagnosis is made with two or more of the following characteristics:
- Unilateral headache
- Pulsating quality
- Moderate or severe pain intensity
- Aggravated by physical activity
Plus one or more of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Photo and phonophobia
- A migraine headache typically lasts about 24 hours (range of 4 hours to 3 days). However, an attack includes all phases and from beginning to end, can last several days or more.
- Thirty-six million Americans, which is about 12% of the population, suffer from migraine headaches.
- One in four households in America has a member with migraine.
- Migraine is three times more common in women than men.
- Migraine affects 30% of women over a lifetime.
- Although most people with migraine have a few attacks or less per month
- An estimated 3% of the population has chronic migraine.
- Indicates the presence of at least 15 days of headache each month
- Each headache lasting 4 hours or longer
- Chronic migraine impacts 3.2 million Americans, and it is speculated that only 20% receive this diagnosis who have the disorder.
- Patients are often heavily burdened by their disease, and often live frustrated with it.
There are several oral preventive agents that are available for chronic migraine and a newer preventive injectable, Botox. Botox is the first and only approved preventive treatment for chronic migraine.
At Broadlawns Medical Center we evaluate, diagnose and treat chronic migraine. Maintaining a journal of your symptoms and frequency and sharing it with your physician is suggested.