migraine awareness week

Get Clued Up on Migraines This Migraine Awareness Week

More than 8.5 million people in the UK alone suffer from recurring migraines – that’s an average of one in five women and one in 15 men. Migraines affect all sufferers differently, some people experience migraines as frequently as several times a week while others can go years between attacks.

Unfortunately, despite migraines being such a common problem for so many people, The Migraine Trust believes that there is nowhere near enough information or understanding out there. That is why they have decided to launch Migraine Awareness week. Taking place from the 4th to the 10th of September 2016, Migraine Awareness Week is the time for campaigns to take place across the country to reduce the stigma, raise awareness, and raise funds for research and treatment.


What are migraines?

Many people misdiagnose severe headaches as migraines; however, a migraine is a very specific type of problem. It is felt as a severe throbbing pain on one side of the head and can often induce other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and a sensitive reaction to bright lights and loud noises.

The three most common forms of migraine are; migraine with aura, migraine without aura and migraine aura without headaches. Migraines with aura are preceded by definitive warning signs; sufferers may see flashing flights, blind spots, blurred vision or a tingling in the neck a few moments before the migraine begins. Migraines without aura come on suddenly with no warning signals. Finally, a migraine aura without headache occurs when there are warning symptoms but the headache pain doesn’t develop.


What causes migraines?

It is believed that migraines come about as a result of complications in brain activity, when the nerves, blood vessels or chemicals in the brain become disrupted. There are a number of things that could cause these problems in the brain, some are genetic, some are hormonal and others can come about as a result of specific triggers.

Triggers for migraines can be emotional, such as stress, anxiety, depression, while others are physical; lack of sleep, bad posture, muscle tension, low blood sugar and too much/lack of exercise. Food and drink habits can also be at the root of some migraines. Missed meals, dehydration, high alcohol intake, caffeine and even cheese have all been proven to be migraine triggers.


Migraine prevention tips

The most effective way to prevent migraines is for sufferers to work out what their triggers are and avoid them. One way to learn migraine triggers is to keep a ‘migraine diary’ which records the time and dates of each attack, food and drink eaten beforehand, medication taken, auras and other warning signs.

Trigger avoidance isn’t the only preventative measure which has been shown to help. Epilepsy medication, Topiramate and blood pressure tablets, Proporanolol, have both been proven to effectively prevent migraines when taken daily.


Migraine Awareness Week

Migraine Awareness Week was launched by the Migraine Trust to raise awareness of this serious health issue and spread information where it may be lacking. The aim of the campaign is to get the message out there to as many people as possible. As a result, more migraine sufferers may come forward and get themselves diagnosed or start looking into their symptoms and triggers. At the moment, around one third of migraines are misdiagnosed and end up being ineffectively treated as a result. Funds raised throughout this week will be put towards research studies to help medical practitioners diagnose and treat the problem.

More than 25 million school and work days are lost every year to migraines, so the Trust is also seeking to make sure that employers and schools are more informed and better equipped to care of students and employees who are experiencing migraines.


How you can get involved

The World Health Organisation has found migraines to be one of the most debilitating and misunderstood chronic ailments. This is why The Migraine Trust wants to get as many people as possible behind Migraine Awareness week.

Just one of the many ways you can get involved with the campaign is by sharing your story if you or a loved one live with migraines. Even if you’re not affected by migraines you can still back awareness week by displaying a poster in your place of work, sharing videos from the Migraine Trusts’s YouTube account on your social media page, or simply making a donation and encouraging others to do the same.