In the United States alone, more than 38 million people live with Migraine, a genetic neurological disease, which is characterized by episodes, often called Migraine attacks, that have multiple symptoms. Approximately two million Americans live with Chronic Migraine, which means that they have a headache or Migraine 15 or more days per month — in other words, they have a migraine more often than not.
The phrase, "Migraine headache," isn't the most accurate of phrases. Migraine attacks can occur with no headache at all, and when there is a headache, it's just one symptom of the Migraine attack. Other potential symptoms — including nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound), and even hemiplegia (one-sided paralysis) — can be more severe and difficult to handle than the headache.
Despite how common Migraine is, it is still underdiagnosed, undertreated, misunderstood, and carries significant social stigma. The stigma increases the burden of living with Migraine disease. Due largely to a lack of funding to research the disease itself, development of effective treatments lags behind many other conditions that carry less disease burden.
All of that said, there is hope for managing Migraine and living with a decent quality of life. Some of the primary clues to doing this are:
Nobody can live with Migraine, or any other Headache disorder without one very essential thing - hope. Please check out the American Headache and Migraine Association, a patient-driven, patient-focused nonprofit organization for patients, family members, and friends at www.AHMAIsHope.org.
last updated April 19, 2015.
© Teri Robert, 2004 - present unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.