Over half a million people in Ireland suffer from Migraine attacks.
On the 25th of January 2018, The Migraine Association of Ireland conducted a migraine awareness seminar for the residents of Limerick. Dr Elijah Chaila, Consultant Neurologist/Migraine Specialist, at University Hospital Limerick described how a migraine affects a person.
Experiencing a migraine is the most common neurological disorder, effecting one in every 3 people and affects women more than men, Dr Elijah pointed out.
90% of people will experience their first migraine before the age of 40. Whilst half of the cohort of those who will experience a migraine, will do so in their teenage years.
If a person endures a migraine during their 60’s for the first time, then they are advised to seek medical advice, according to Dr Chaila.
A crucial point in managing your migraine is to get an accurate diagnosis, which will help navigate your treatment.
Migraine is a primary headache syndrome, however there are other kinds of headaches associated with different conditions, hence a proper diagnosis is necessary.
The first stage of a migraine attack: Prodrome, can initiate a few days before the actual attack. The individual tends to suffer from irritability, depression, sensitivity to light and sound, etc. at this point.
This is followed by the aura stage, which affects your vision. Dr Elijah explains that some people might experience sharp lines and heightened bright colours and sometimes it may just be a blur in your vision.
The migraine attack as described, then follows, “It generally lasts from four to seventy-two hours, and presents as is generally a throbbing or pounding headache” Dr Elijah said.
Dr Elijah points out that at times due to nasal congestion, some people might assume that they have sinusitis. This misconception occurs because the nerve that mediates a migraine attack has a branch located close to your nasal region, which might cause nasal congestion, thus leading you to believe that you suffer from sinusitis.
Pregnant women, in particular, need to be careful when they present with migraine as their treatment options can be limited.
Four Months pregnant, Elaine Rowlands raised her concern about acupuncture for migraine in her condition. “During pregnancy one has to be very careful,” Dr Elijah pointed out.
Your family history will determine in 60 percent of the cases, whether or not you will experience migraines. In order to alleviate the symptoms, Dr Chaila recommends firstly identifying triggers, a good practice is to maintain a migraine diary and highlight which ones you identify with.
Some of the common triggers may include: weather change, stress, hormonal changes, exertion, trauma etc.
CEO of the Migraine Association of Ireland, Patrick Little told the conference that one of the biggest challenges they have is differentiating between a head ache and migraine amongst GP’s.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is that people don’t get treated very seriously sometimes by General practitioners,” Mr Patrick, pointed out.
You can reach the organisation through their website, www.migraine.ie or contact their helpline number at 1850 200 378.