Posted on Dec 03, 2007 | Comments 0
Migraine is a severe painful form of headache that periodically affects one or both sides of the head.
The pain usually lasts for two hours to two days. It is three times more common in women than men.
According to the world health organization, over twenty million people are attacking with migraine every day.
Serotonin and migraine attack:
The migraine usually attacks with the release of a biochemical substance called serotonin, a naturally produced substance stored in the blood platelets. When this serotonin is released, the blood vessels constrict and become narrow.
With the expulsion of serotonin by the kidneys, the levels of serotonin in the brain get depleted leading to the dilation (expansion) of the blood vessels. This dilation causes pain in the surrounding nerves and result in migraine headache.
The migraine pain usually starts out as a light headache and eventually becomes a continuous throbbing and pulsating pain near the temples of the head. Sometimes, the pain is accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting.
There are several types of migraine. Of these, the most prevalent types are migraine with aura and migraine without aura, an alteration in perception due to the change in the brain function.
It is a sensory phenomenon indicating an approaching migraine attack. Normally, it is a visual warning sign that can be of flashing lights, wavy lines, blind spots, geometric figures and shapes or blurred vision.
In some cases, non-visual auras may develop, including aural auras (hearing sounds), olfactory auras (smelling odors) or tactile auras (physical sensation) as an indication of migraine attack.
These auras normally develop approximately twenty to thirty minutes before the migraine attacks.
Migraine With Aura (Classic Migraine):
It is a form of migraine preceded by an aura. This classic type usually develops in four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and post headache.
In the prodrome stage, the person may feel fatigue, irritation, lack of concentration or increased depression. Normally, it starts from twenty-four hours before the onset of the aura stage.
During the aura stage, the person may see wavy or jagged lines, flashing lights, or blind spots in one or both eyes. This stage may also include hearing hallucination, distraction in smell, taste or touch. It begins from 5-30 minutes before the onset of the headache and fades away as the headache starts.
The third stage is the headache where the person experiences a severe throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head. The fourth stage is post headache where the person may feel exhaustion and fatigue.
Migraine Without Aura (Common Migraine):
It is a kind of migraine with no indication of migraine attack. It develops slowly and may be preceded by fatigue, yawning, craving, irritation, and depression. It usually occurs on one side of the head. It can be chronic and recurrent with usual pain, nausea, vomiting and problem with light and sound.
The other types of migraines are: hemiplegic migraine (muscle weakness or partial paralysis for less than an hour), ophthalmoplegic migraine (temporary vision problems for few days to weeks), basilar migraine (neurological spasm for about 6-8 hours), and status migraine (severe migraine attack for more than twenty-four hours).
Find from which type of migraine you are suffering and take the proper treatment.
Posted in: Nervous System Disorders