The World Health Organization (WHO) says that headache is one of the most common conditions in medical consultations.
But not all headaches are the same. Today we are going to talk about a very common type of headache: migraine
Headaches: differences between headaches and migraine
Migraine or hemicrania is a very common genetic disease that generally affects between 12% and 16% of the population. But, What is the difference between migraines?
Headaches and migraines are not the same. Headache is discomfort that causes headaches. There are two types: primary headaches, which have many causes; and secondary headaches resulting from illness. For example, a brain tumor or Lyme disease.
Migraine and tension headaches belong to the group of primary headachesAlthough migraine usually appears with nausea and vomiting. As for these, the type of pain is different. While the migraine has a throbbing pain, the headache is characterized by an oppressive pain, such as pressure on the head. Migraines usually affect half of the head as well, and tension headaches affect both halves. Headaches can come from different causes: stress, fatigue, anxiety, too much coffee or tobacco, and migraine is genetic.
Symptoms of migraine
Migraine causes great suffering to the sufferer and their family. It usually appears as recurrent headache attacks, which may vary in frequency, intensity and duration. As mentioned, this pain is usually located on one side of the head, and rather than appearing on the side of nausea and vomiting, patients often experience discomfort with light and noise. Migraine is both chronic and episodic disease that manifests itself in the form of attacks.
In summary, the most common causes of migraine are:
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
Tension headache and migraine account for up to 95% of primary headaches and, without a doubt, the latter disease leads to a deterioration in the quality of life of those who suffer from it.
Types of migraine
There are different types of migraines and therefore the symptoms and severity can vary from person to person..
Knowing exactly the type of migraine is essential for using the most effective treatment. In fact, 60-70% of migraine patients are not diagnosed correctly, in part because it is difficult to objectively know the symptoms they produce and the areas of the head that are affected by this pain sensation. . Thus, the correct diagnosis largely determines the success of the treatment.
Based on the International Headache Society classification (ICHD-3), the types of migraine are:
1. Migraine without aura (common migraine)
This is the most common and common type of migraine. Symptoms include moderate to severe throbbing headaches that usually go unnoticed. Pain is usually only felt in one part of the head and appears alongside nausea, confusion, blurred vision, and excessive sensitivity to light, noise, and smells.
Either way, this type of migraine looks like a headache with a very high intensity, that is, a quantitative difference from a common headache and run with a few additional symptoms, such as sensitivity to light.
The seizures last 4 to 72 hours and are usually repeated twice a week. Body movements make symptoms worse.
2. Migraine with aura
Also known as classic migraine or complicated migraine, is characterized by the inclusion of visual disturbances and other neurological symptoms, Known as auras, which appear 10 to 60 minutes before the onset of the headache. The person hearing it may partially lose their sight.
The aura can occur without a headache and can manifest at any time. In addition to visual disturbances, other symptoms may appear such as: abnormal sensation, numbness or muscle weakness on one side of the body; a tingling sensation in the hands or face; difficulty speaking and confusion. Additionally, nausea, loss of appetite, and increased sensitivity to light, sound or noise may precede the headache.
3. Migraine without headache
As indicated by his name, this type of migraine doesn’t have a headache, but it does have vision problems and other aura-related symptoms. Additionally, it may appear with abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.
Some experts suggest that an unexplained fever, dizziness, or pain in any part of the body can also be a consequence of this type of migraine.
4. Basilar migraine
Basilar migraine primarily affects children and adolescents and includes symptoms of migraine with aura that originate in the brainstem. However, the patients do not present with motor weakness. It usually occurs more frequently in adolescent girls and may be associated with their menstrual cycles.
Symptoms include partial or complete loss of vision or double vision, dizziness and loss of balance (vertigo), poor muscle coordination, tinnitus, and fainting. The stabbing pain can come on suddenly and be felt on both sides of the head, especially in the back.
5. Hemiplegic migraine
Hemiplegic migraine is a subtype of migraine that occurs rarely. However, its symptoms are severe, as it causes temporary paralysis in one part of the body that can last even for days. This paralysis usually appears before the headache.
Symptoms such as dizziness, tingling, and problems with vision, speech, or swallowing may start before the headache and usually stop soon after. When it occurs in families, this disorder is called familial hemiplegic migraine.
6. Retinal migraine
This type of migraine is rare and is characterized by attacks of visual loss or changes in one eye.. These attacks, like the most common visual auras, are preceded by migraines. In contrast, visual loss cannot be explained by damage to the eye or the optic nerve.
7. Chronic migraine
When the headache occurs for 15 or more days per month, at least for three months, a chronic migraine is diagnosed.
Chronic migraine can be with or without aura and usually requires preventative medication. Likewise, behaviors must be adopted to control the onset of symptoms, as chronic migraine can become disabling. After consuming the drugs, nearly 50% of patients still have migraines, but this time episodic.
Prevention of this disease
Although the cause appears to be genetic, there are different factors that precipitate the symptomatic onset of migraine. Therefore, it is always best to take precautions to minimize the impact of this condition:
- diet: Some patients react with migraines to certain foods. This is why we must detect them and avoid consuming them. Additionally, alcohol, Chinese food, chocolate, or smoked foods are more likely to cause migraines. It is also advisable to eat at regular times.
- Sleep hygiene: Maintaining healthy sleep habits can help prevent migraines.
- hormone level: In the case of women, it seems that hormones related to menstrual cycles are likely to trigger these episodes. Contraceptives, which cause changes in estrogen levels, make the symptoms and frequency of migraines worse.