Cheyenne by family history and associated symptoms such as

Cheyenne Alvarez

Ms. Pelletier

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17 January 2017



Migraines are a disorder that causes recurring headaches that are
moderate to severe, characterized by severe head pain and several disturbances of the nervous system, such as blurry vision, tingling in the arms and impaired speech.
Migraines can be diagnosed by family history and associated
symptoms such as nausea, vomiting,
and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. The causes of migraine ranges from changes in the weather, allergic reactions, flickering lights, strong
aromas, drop in hormone levels and more. Most individuals are prescribed
medication such as sumatriptan
or naratriptan, but medications do not work for everyone, so some may lean
towards herbal treatments and/or home remedies for relief from symptoms. Migraines
can be costly as the U.S. spends up to $17 billion a year for medications
emergency room visits, and diagnostics and lab services. Migraines can affect
patients for years; however, some may grow out of this disorder. Diagnosis and
treatments are being researched for a more effective treatment for this
condition. Migraines are a serious disorder that affects multiple parts of the
body and can last from hours to days. This disorder is malignant but there are
many ways to prevent, diagnose and treat migraines according to specialist and experimental

Migraines are a neurological condition that originate in the
brain and can affect people throughout their lives. Migraines are notorious for
causing extreme pain. People may believe the brain itself feels pain, however,
the pain from migraines is due to nociceptors, specialized
sensory nerve fibers that transmit pain signals,
being stimulated in the cerebral blood vessels. These nerve endings release “a
number of proteins, such as serotonin, which can cause inflammation to the
meninges as well as dilate blood vessels.” (Estemalik,2013). Migraines feel as
if someone is squeezing one’s head with lots of pressure, while this sharp
stabbing pain in your temple is going off, making you feel sick to your
stomach, blind and fatigue. Migraines
date back to 1200 B.C, when painful headaches were recorded by Egyptians. Many individuals
felt aura when they had a migraine and felt relief after vomiting. Aretaeus of
Cappadocia discovered migraines when he noticed people were having one sides or
unilateral headaches. He came up with the word Migraines from the Latin word, “hemicrania”,
or half skull. According to Victor, “Migraine prevalence was 8.6% (males),
17.5% (females), and 13.2% (overall) and showed a bimodal distribution in both
sexes (peaking in the late teens and 20s and around 50 years of age”. During the
ages of 3 to mid-20’s there is found to be a rapid increase in migraine occurrences.
 The ratio for females to males is higher
due to female reproductive/child bearing years, menstruation cycles, hormone levels
and birth control. Migraine frequency and patterns vary due to gender, age, and
lifestyle. A female who is growing and going through menstrual cycles and
hormone changes may have migraines more frequent then a male in their 40’s. Having
medical insurance is not always cheap and without it is extremely expensive. Migraines
can cause an individual to have multiple hospital visits, MRI’s, CAT scans and
lab testing’s done to help diagnose and treat the illness.  Also, once diagnosed with this disorder, the
patient will need medications, possibly multiple prescriptions, to effectively help
treat the symptoms and frequencies of the migraines. Some doctors may even send
the patient to therapy to learn how to cope with these severe headaches.  Not only are services needing to be paid, but individuals
are missing workdays or reduced work time in a day due to migraines. Migraines
can cause someone to miss school or work because of an episode of a migraine
attack that would last all day and keep them in bed. Not only is this hurting a
person but also their coworkers and employers who must fill in the spot and
pick up the workload one cannot do. According to Ross, World Headache Alliance,
“In the U.S. alone, the annual cost of migraine is estimated to be between $5.6
and $17.2 billion in lost work productivity. In Canada the cost of migraine in
the workplace is approximately $500 million annually and in Ontario, the
average overall annual cost due to migraine is estimated to be $3,025/patient,
mostly due to indirect costs.”  

There are various environmental
and genetic causes and risk factors that come with this disorder. According to
Goadsby, “Transmission of migraine from parents to children has been reported
as early as the seventeenth century, and numerous published studies have
reported a positive family history.” For example, my dad grew up with migraines
and he passed it to myself and my younger sister. When I visited specialists,
one of the first questions they would ask would be, “Does this run in your
family”.  Nordqvist explains that,” Patients who suffer from migraines have
reduced cortical thickness and surface area in pain-processing regions of the
brain, compared to individuals who never have migraines, Italian researchers
revealed”.  Brain abnormalities in
patients that have migraines are present either at birth or develop over a
period. Some individuals may grow out of it over the years and others may be diagnosed
with this disorder later in life. Researchers have found that patients with
migraines have more damage of the cerebral cortex in the brain due to pain
processing. This deterioration is caused by those areas being chronically stimulated
during a migraine. This illness can be caused by stress, depression, eating
certain foods that trigger it, allergies, light, loud sound, weather changes,
changes in our bodies such as menstrual cycles, colds and flu. Not treating a
migraine when needed can be life threatening since it can raise your blood
pressure immensely, restricts blood vessels and loss of sight and feeling.

This disease is diagnosed
with a full background of your family medical history, lab tests, imaging of
the brain and skull, doctor visits and prescription trials. It can be hard to distinguished
if you are having a bad headache or a migraine. The author, Weatherall,
explains that, “A basic working knowledge of the common primary headaches, and
a rational manner of approaching the patient with these conditions, allows a
specific diagnosis of chronic migraine to be made quickly and safely”.  This disease can be treated with prescriptions,
over the counter medications, therapy, home remedies and limiting factors that
are triggering these events. Many doctors will prescribe triptans or opioids to
individuals. However, there are hundreds of medications that can work, and it
depends on the individuals body if they will work or not. If prescriptions are
not working, I find that taking a hot shower, laying in a dark cool room with a
cloth on my head works perfectly. Others may lean towards caffeinated drinks,
as they can help reduce inflammation or help speed up popular pain relievers. Choosing
the right treatment depends on your body, gender, age and lifestyle. Better
preventatives and treatments are on the way for migraine sufferers. Scientists
are studying with CGRP drugs, an amino acid peptide produced by neurons in our
bodies and which has been implicated in Migraine pathogenesis. This drug has
shown great promises for future use in hospitals and drug stores. Scientists
are also getting a better understanding of the biology of migraines by using
genetic sequencing. There are many organizations and campaigns that are
dedicated to raising money for migraine relief and research. Over the years, there
has been better ways to fight off migraines and help one know what it really is.
As scientists continue to experiment, the future looks bright for one’s

Having a throbbing
headache for hours with symptoms of a flue or worse is not enjoyable. Doctors
and scientist all around the world are researching like never before to get a
better understanding of this disease. There are multiple causes, risk factors,
costs, and treatments for migraines. Getting the help you need from
professionals is the best way to cope with migraines. The outcomes in the
future for migraines are optimistic, and one day there will be more effective
ways to treat, diagnose and prevent these tremendously aching headaches.



Estemalik, E., & Tepper, S. (2013).
Preventive treatment in migraine and the new US guidelines. Neuropsychiatric
Disease and Treatment, 9, 709–720.

TM, X. Hu, JC Campbell, DC Buse, and RB Lipton. 2014″Migraine prevalence by
age and sex in the United States: A life-span study.” Cephalalgia.
Accessed December 28, 2017.

Shelagh, R. (n.d.). The Astronomical Costs
of Migraine. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from

Goadsby, P. J. (2012). Pathophysiology of
migraine. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 15(Suppl 1),

Nordqvist, C. (2013, March 27). Migraine
Patients Have Brain Abnormalities, MRI Scans Show. Retrieved January 17, 2018,

Weatherall, M. W. (2015). The diagnosis
and treatment of chronic migraine. Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease,
6(3), 115–123.






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