This is the definition that comes to mind when it comes to migraine. Previously, she was a frequent and indisputable reason for the “non-reception days” of purely high-society persons, and therefore earned a reputation as an empty excuse. Today, migraine is, alas, a disease of young active women.
There are practically no exact statistics on migraine: the numbers fluctuate greatly depending on the approach of doctors and the education of people. After all, migraines are often confused with headaches. Indeed, there is no migraine without a headache. But this disease is much more serious.
Migraine has been known to physicians since ancient times. This disease was accurately described by the Greek physician Hippocrates four centuries before the birth of Christ. However, the cause of migraine, alas, is still a mystery. Doctors have only learned how to relieve symptoms and reduce the frequency of attacks. However, everything is in order …
A classic migraine attack begins with visual disturbances. You “see” flashes of light, zigzags, stars, flickering “flies”, and the images of real objects become fuzzy, distorted, as if mosaic. Then, within 2-6 hours, a strong throbbing pain in half of the head gradually increases to unbearable intensity. Usually these are the sides of the head, but there are cases when pain occurs in the frontal or facial part, nose, cheek, ear … Light and noise fear appear, since any irritation causes increased pain.
Usually people say that at this time they want to close somewhere in a dark, quiet room and not move. At the peak of these pains, as a rule, nausea and vomiting occur. After that, the headache begins to subside and completely disappears in 6-24 hours. The attack ends and begins at an indefinite time of remission – that is, a quiet life. This time can sometimes last for years, until there is a reason for the next attack.
This is an example of a classic ophthalmic migraine. If a headache attack is preceded by a disorder not of vision, but of the digestive organs: a burning sensation, seething in the intestines – a migraine is called vegetative. In addition, there is an associative migraine. She has similar symptoms, and the attack comes in the form of a long dull headache.
As a rule, migraine is a hereditary predisposed disease. If a mother has suffered from such attacks during her life, then there is every chance that her daughter at a certain age will also “get acquainted” with migraine. But this is only a predisposition. Fifty percent of the causes of migraine are emotional overload: lack of sleep, stress, physical or nervous overwork, agitation, depression, nervous shock. Or visual overload: too bright or flickering light, a long movie show or a long sitting in front of the TV.
The other half of migraine attacks are, oddly enough, the result of an allergy. Mostly food, although there are cases of the onset of an attack due to hay fever or a reaction to various aggressive odors. With regard to food allergies, the “dangerous” products are primarily alcohol and smoking, then various drugs and products containing ceramine (cheeses, coffee, cocoa, synthetic carbonated water). The third risk group is extractive products: ketchups, mayonnaises, sauces, mustard.
Various medications can also trigger seizures. Especially oral contraceptives. This is due to changes in hormonal activity. Yes, there is no getting away from the fact that 85-90 percent of migraine patients are women. The reasons for this are both the dependent nervous system and the high hormonal activity of the woman’s body. Therefore, migraine attacks often occur in women during the premenstrual period.
In addition, migraine is a disease of the young. At the age of vitality, there are many provoking factors. According to our observations, it affects mainly people from 18 to 40-45 years old. Then the hormonal activity falls, the flexibility and sensitivity of the vascular walls decreases (another problem is approaching – atherosclerosis). Yes, and life becomes stable, calm and less “nervous”.
As I have already said, modern medicine is not able to cure migraine once and for all. To alleviate suffering during an attack, any ergot preparations and their derivatives are recommended in combination with various painkillers. A good result is the addition of the non-hormonal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin and sedatives to this combination. It’s good when you already know the first signal symptoms of an impending attack and there is time to take medication in advance.
And in the interictal period, it is necessary to constantly take preventive measures. In other words, avoid potential causes of an attack.
In general, this disease is unique in that, apart from severe physical suffering, it does not have any harmful consequences. The migraine attack itself is caused by spasms of blood vessels. Theoretically, this, of course, can lead to impaired cerebral circulation. But this is extremely rare, even if the attack is completely untreated. Most often, the patient can “die” from a headache and constant vomiting, and the attacks roll almost continuously, but significant circulatory disorders of the brain will not occur.
But even if you are sure that an “old friend” migraine is to blame for your torment, it is still necessary to periodically appear to a neurologist. Indeed, against the background of migraine pain, other serious diseases with similar symptoms can progress, up to a brain tumor.
Igor TENDLER, neurologist