According to studies, around 2% of the world’s population suffers from chronic migraines. Also, migraines affect about three times more women than men. Research suggests that attacks may be down to multiple factors, so read on to learn what these are.
For every 1 million people, around 3,000 will experience migraine attacks on a given day. Moreover, in the UK, research has been published showing that there are 190,000 migraine attacks every day.
What is a migraine?
Although migraines can take various forms, typically, sufferers will have a throbbing pain in the head. Frequently, this goes hand in hand with a pulsing sensation. These symptoms can be felt down one side of the head, and some sufferers will also have accompanying nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound.
Experiencing migraines is fairly common. Roughly one in five women will suffer at some point in their life, while among men, the rate is around one in fifteen. Symptoms usually start in adolescence or early adulthood. However, children can also experience migraines, and occasionally, people begin to suffer from them only in later life.
Sufferers typically experience different types of migraine, including:
– With an aura, where there are specific warning signs just before the migraine begins such as seeing flashing lights
– Without an aura, the most common type, where the migraine happens without any particular warning signs
– An aura without a headache, where someone has an aura or other migraine symptoms but no accompanying headache
While some sufferers may have frequent attacks, for example, several times a week, others may only get migraines occasionally. In fact, some individuals can go years without having a migraine and then suddenly get one or even a string of attacks.
When can migraines occur?
It’s hard to predict when a migraine might occur. However, there are numerous factors that can make someone more prone to getting migraines. It’s helpful to know what these are so that triggers can be avoided if possible or at least understood.
Family history, age, and gender
If a close member of your family suffers from migraines, you may be more likely to develop migraines too. Although migraines can start at any age, they often begin in adolescence, and peak in the 30s. In the decades that follow, they usually become less frequent and less severe in certain individuals. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men, with hormonal changes during pregnancy or the menopause playing a key role. However, in general terms, migraines tend to improve after the menopause.
Stress and tension
Stress can be experienced either at work or in personal or domestic circumstances. Changes that take place in the body due to the physical effects of stress can trigger migraines at that time and also in the aftermath.
Irregular sleeping patterns and changes to daily routines
When the body’s circadian rhythms and metabolic patterns get out of sync, chemical changes can occur that disturb one’s physical and mental balance, potentially leading to migraines. For example, long journeys can precede an attack, and even pleasant changes like a holiday can be implicated.
Since our bodies are made up of roughly 60% water, dehydration can have serious effects, such as inducing a migraine. Therefore, a simple tip for migraine relief is to drink plenty of water (2 liters of fluid intake a day is the general recommendation).
Caffeine has been linked to migraines due to the fact that it’s a stimulant. Issues related to caffeine can be caused by consuming too much, in the form of coffee, tea, and caffeinated drinks; or even abruptly giving up caffeine if the body is used to a regular intake. A good migraine relief tip, in this case, is to ensure any changes to caffeine intake are gradual so the body has time to adjust. Furthermore, avoid over-consumption!
In conclusion, experiencing migraines is debilitating and can severely affect the lives of sufferers. In milder cases, daily functioning may not be too adversely affected. But in more extreme cases, sufferers may have to take time off work, cancel social activities and even spend several days resting in bed until the migraine has passed.
If you’re reading this because you suffer from migraines, or know someone who does, then please consider the above triggers when looking for migraine relief. And don’t be afraid to seek medical advice from your doctor as well.