An estimated twenty-eight million Americans suffer from migraines, and less than half of them are diagnosed by their doctors. Some of these people who suffer from migraines may have no idea that their headaches are out of the ordinary, but a migraine is more than just a simple headache, with both different causes and treatments. Migraines are caused by an enlargement of blood vessels, which triggers neural nerve fibers to release chemicals, which cause swelling, pain, and additional enlargement of blood vessels.
The blood vessels usually become enlarged originally due to an increase of serotonin in the body, which occurs due to any one of several triggers. Common migraine triggers include anxiety, stress, malnutrition, lack of sleep, overexposure to light, changes in activity levels, changes in hormonal levels (particularly in females), or the consumption of various types of food.
Some foods that may act as migraine triggers include:
* Alcohol beverages
* Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
* Some cheeses
* Cured or processed meat
* Pickled vegetables
* Fruits such as figs, raisins, and papayas
People who have migraines usually describe these vascular headaches as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain, usually in one area on the head. During a migraine, a person may be unable to tolerate lights or sounds. They may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Some people with migraines experience symptoms even before the migraines begins. For example, they might feel an intense surge of energy; on the other hand, they might feel strongly fatigued. Some people also experience food cravings, thirst, or changes in mood before the start of a migraine.
Medical treatment options for migraines basically include two categories: medicines that treat migraines and medicines that prevent them from happening in the first place. Medicines aimed at prevention are usually taken daily, and any migraine that is not successfully prevented may be treated with a second type of medication.