Can Migraines Be Life Threatening
While migraine headaches may not be life threatening themselves, they could be a sign of a life-threatening problem such as meningitis, infection, or tumors. It is important to see your doctor to rule out any of these potential dangers. You should also be careful when taking your prescribed medications for migraines.
Can Migraine Cause Permanent Damage
According to the American Headache Society, migraine does not result in long-term brain damage.
The organization references two population studies that took brain scans of people with and without migraine to study the long-term effects on the brain.
After 910 years, researchers found white lesions on the brain in some individuals with migraine, but these changes had no link to any changes in cognitive or brain function.
The AMF also confirms that research has found white matter lesions in some people with migraine, but that these lesions usually have no link with cognitive decline or neurological problems.
Migraine can cause the following complications.
Persistent Aura Without Infarction
Persistent aura without infarction is a rare type of migraine with aura. In this type of migraine, people may have aura symptoms that last for a week or longer, with no signs of stroke.
If people have persistent aura without infarction, they will need to speak with a doctor. A healthcare professional may order imaging tests to find out what is causing the prolonged aura symptoms.
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Headaches: Do They Really Cause Brain Tissue Damage
Many people who experience chronic headaches and migraines feel like there is no real solution to their problem. So, why not just learn to live with it? The following information may give you a very good reason to try to resolve this situation. Also, to get an easy way to do just that.
Chronic headaches are those occurring more than 15 days in a months time. As many as 5 percent of the global population experience these headaches. Chronic headaches include medication overuse headaches and migraines. For the sake of this article, we are just going to refer to them as headaches.
Diagnosing Headaches After Brain Injury
Most of the time, you wont just experience one type of headache or another, but a combination.
For example, your joint injury could pinch the nerves in your spine, causing you both cervical and neuralgic headaches. The pain could also cause your muscles to tighten up, leading to a tension headache as well.
Unfortunately, when you are suffering from more than one type of headache, the symptoms can blur together. And if you arent able to identify the cause and type of your headaches, it will be much more difficult to manage the pain.
Therefore, it is crucial to be thorough when describing your headache pain to your doctor. It will help them make the right diagnosis and offer you the most effective treatment.
Are White Matter Lesions A Suggestion That There Is Another Disease Process Than Plain Vanilla Migraine
The phenomenon of CADASIL points out that Migraine may not be one disease. As Migraine is a “committee diagnosis“, it may easily contain within it many distinct diseases, and furthermore, one diseases treatment might not work for another. Recent genetic studies in migraine would support this idea as well. It may be that there is a gene or group of genes, associated with headaches, that is responsible for white matter lesions. In the future, we may want to split up migraine into subvariants, one of which is migraine with white matter lesions. In our practice in Chicago, we often start with verapamil for prevention of migraine with white matter lesions.
Can Migraines Cause Strokes
Migraines have not been shown to cause stroke, but if you have migraine with aura you have a very slightly higher risk of stroke. This guide explains more about migraine, and lists some useful organisations. Stroke and migraine both happen in the brain, and sometimes the symptoms of a migraine can mimic a stroke.
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Why Do Headaches Happen After Brain Injury
Right after a severe TBI, people may have headaches because of the surgery on their skulls or because they have small collections of blood or fluid inside the skull.
Headaches can also occur after mild to moderate injury or, in the case of severe TBI, after the initial healing has taken place. These headaches can be caused by a variety of conditions, including a change in the brain caused by the injury, neck and skull injuries that have not yet fully healed, tension and stress, or side effects from medication.
Studies Of Volumetric Changes
We identified 9 clinic-based studies that used VBM and DTI to assess GM and WM regions in migraineurs and controls ., Seven studies reported reduced GM density in brain regions in migraineurs compared to controls., In addition, one study found increased GM density in the periaqueductal gray and the dorsolateral pons, but only in patients with MA. In 5 studies, attack frequency and disease duration,,, were correlated with GM reduction in migraineurs in the frontal,,, temporal,, and parietal lobes, the limbic system, the cingulate cortex,,, the brainstem,, and the cerebellum., One study reported that patients with chronic migraine had a volume loss mainly in the anterior cingulate cortex and in several other areas, compared to patients with episodic migraine , indicating an association between attack frequency and GM reduction, especially in the ACC.
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Migraines With Aura In Middle Age Associated With Late
Women who suffer from migraine headaches in middle age accompanied by neurological aura are more likely to have damage to brain tissue in the cerebellum later in life.
Women who suffer from migraine headaches in middle age accompanied by neurological aura are more likely to have damage to brain tissue in the cerebellum later in life, according to a study by researchers at the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Icelandic Heart Association in Reykjavik. Researchers noted that many people have these types of “silent” brain lesions, but their effect on physical and cognitive function in older people is not well studied.
The study appears in the June 24, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers found that women are more susceptible than men to localized brain tissue damage identified on magnetic resonance images and that women who reported having migraines with aura were almost twice as likely to have such damage in the cerebellum as women who reported not having headaches.
Researchers noted that while the study shows an association in women between migraine and cerebellar tissue damage later in life, the functional significance of such brain changes remains an open question. The cerebellum is located in the lower back side of the brain and is involved in functions such as motor activity, balance and cognition.
NIHTurning Discovery Into Health®
What Was Your First Brain Tumor Symptom
First signs and symptoms of a brain tumor may be severe headaches and seizures. Severe, persistent headaches that may not be related to an existing illness such as migraine is considered a common finding in patients with a brain tumor. Pain may be worse in the mornings and may be associated with nausea or vomiting.
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Lifestyle Changes To Help Prevent Headaches
The first steps in treating any type of headache don’t involve drugs or other therapy. Many times, lifestyle factors can trigger headaches or make headaches worse. Making simple changes can often make a big difference in whether or not headaches occur. Try to:
- Get enough sleep.
- Get daily exercise. Aerobic exercise such as walking and good stretching often help to prevent headaches by improving sleep and decreasing triggers. If a headache is worsened by any particular exercise, check with your health care provider.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Avoid certain foods that may trigger a headache, like red wine, monosodium glutamate or certain cheeses.
- Avoid taking pain medicines on a daily basis unless your health care provider prescribes it.
Do I Need Special Tests To Diagnose A Headache
In the first few days after a head injury, doctors will often order a CT scan of your brain to make sure there is no bleeding in your head. After that, a brain scan or other test is rarely needed in order to diagnose a headache accurately.
Usually, the health care provider will rely on your history and symptoms to sort out what kind of headache you are having and how to treat it.
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Watch The Video Below To See What’s True And What We Can Do
One of the most important things to us at Migraine Again is getting the story straight. Wade through the mistruths, misinformation and promotional content across the web to what’s legitimately helpful to migraine sufferers. One of our most viral articles included excerpts from a slightly misleading Prevention.com story: “Ouch! Every Migraine Attack is Actually Damaging Your Brain.” .
Frankly, this article alarmed a lot of people. You asked: Was it really true? Should I get a brain scan? What treatment should I be using to reverse the damage? We reached out directly to Dr. Richard B. Lipton, one of the study’s authors, to get the scoop. His response was a little surprising, and comforting at the same time.
If you haven’t read the original article, to the right, take two minutes to do so here. That will put Dr. Lipton’s remarks from our interview into the right context.
Dispelling Common Misconceptions About The Lasting Effect Of Migraine On The Brain
The intensity of a migraine attack can be so severe, people with migraine sometimes question whether their headaches may be causing permanent damage. While there is evidence that brain scans of people with migraine will sometimes detect changes in the form of white matter lesions, a systematic review of migraine and structural changes in the brain from 2013 indicates that these lesions are generally not associated with any neurological issues, and dont indicate any increased risk of cognitive decline.
Peter Goadsby, M.B., B.S., a neurologist and professor of neurology at the NIHR Wellcome Trust at Kings Clinical Research Facility in London and the University of California, San Francisco, who led the 2013 study and continues to examine migraines lasting neurological effects, says many migraine patients he sees are unnecessarily concerned about long-term brain damage.
To the best of our understanding, thats completely wrong, he says. Theres no association with cognitive function or thinking problems associated with these changes.
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Migraines Can Alter Brain Structure Permanently
Scientists have discovered that migraines may affect the long-term structure of the brain and increase the risk of brain lesions, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark analyzed six population-based studies and 13 clinic-based studies to see whether there was a link between migraines and brain lesions, silent abnormalities or brain volume changes.
The study authors looked at MRI brain scans of patients with common migraines or migraines with aura. Migraine with aura is when a person experiences symptoms before the onset of the migraine. These scans were compared with those of people not suffering from the disorder.
The results of the study revealed that those who had migraines with aura showed a 68% increased risk of white matter brain lesions, compared with those who did not have migraines.
Patients who experienced common migraines showed a 34% increased risk of brain lesions compared with those not suffering from migraines.
Infarct-like abnormalities in the brain symptoms that indicate a disruption in blood flow to the brain increased by 44% in those who had migraines with aura compared with those who had migraines without aura.
Additionally, brain volume changes were more prevalent in both people with common migraines and migraines with aura than those without the conditions.
The study authors explain:
Whats A Migraine Journal
- Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
- The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
- What are your symptoms? Be specific.
- Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
- Note the weather.
- Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
- Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
- Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
- List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
- How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
- Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?
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Migraines And Your Long
While it’s good news that you can reroute your brain, it’s also important to be aware of the other ways chronic migraine — and how you deal with it — might affect your well-being.
For some people, when mental and physical pain come together, it can become overwhelming. Brennan calls it the “pain hole.”
Don’t let migraine take over the happy and productive parts of your life. If you find that you start to feel depressed, anxious, or are losing sleep or always stressed out, tell your doctor. Working with a therapist and getting support — along with good medical care for the migraines themselves — should help keep you well.
Theories About Migraine Pain
Older theories about migraines suggested that symptoms were possibly due to fluctuations in blood flow to the brain. Now many headache researchers realize that changes in blood flow and blood vessels don’t initiate the pain, but may contribute to it.
Current thinking regarding migraine pain has moved more toward the source of the problem, as improved technology and research have paved the way for a better understanding. Today, it is widely understood that chemical compounds and hormones, such as serotonin and estrogen, often play a role in pain sensitivity for migraine sufferers.
One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells. These trigger chemicals, such as serotonin, to narrow blood vessels. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. It can cause narrowing of blood vessels throughout the body.
When serotonin or estrogen levels change, the result for some is a migraine. Serotonin levels may affect both sexes, while fluctuating estrogen levels affect women only.
For women, estrogen levels naturally vary over the life cycle, with increases during fertile years and decreases afterwards. Women of childbearing age also experience monthly changes in estrogen levels. Migraines in women are often associated with these fluctuating hormone levels and may explain why women are more likely to have migraines than men.
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The Discovery Of Brain Damage Due To Headaches
Nedergaards team was able to get an in-depth look at the events happening in the brain of a mouse having a migraine because of combining two new types of imaging technology. What they discovered was a detailed and surprising account of supply and demand in regards to oxygen and blood flow. They saw the brain developing a strong demand for energy as it tries to recover from cortical spreading depression a very likely component of many migraine headaches. During the beginning of this phenomenon, the brain loses chemical balance. At this point, the brains arteries begin to expand greatly and make a lot more oxygen-rich blood available to meet the demand for energy. Even so, some areas of the brain have serious oxygen shortage. This leads to the disintegration of some of the brains tissue, not unlike what happens when you have a stroke.
Those involved in the study relate that this type of damage looks exactly like what happens when one has TIAs . It has long been known that migraine patients become impaired due to the pain. However, these recent studies show repetitive headaches alter a persons cognitive ability.
Deborah Friedman, MD, is a neurologist who was not part of the above study. She reports there have been a few studies showing people who have auras before a migraine are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and other vascular issues.
What Treatments Can We Use To Limit The Damage Done To Our Brains
The research report also said that migraine induce volume loss is also reversible with treatment. Several of you asked: what treatment?
So we asked Dr. Lipton. There’s so much information packed into this conversation that we will be parsing in print form and elaborating on in future posts. For now, you can listen to Dr. Lipton’s expert guidance on the most effective prevention and treatment options available today, based on his extensive experience. We asked him to give thumbs up and thumbs down to 38 different treatments, from Cefaly to Sex to CBT to CGRPs including 2-3 that get a major thumbs down. As a result of this interview, I’m now taking Petadolex, an herbal supplement that you might want to check out too.
It’s like getting a face-to-face with one of the top doctors in the world to talk about one of your most disabling problems. It’ll be one of the best hours you’ve invested to manage your migraine pain.
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