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What Migraine Aura Looks Like

What To Know About Migraine With Aura

What a Migraine Aura looks like

Doctors and patients alike have been fascinated and puzzled by how migraine and aura go hand in hand. In fact, when diagnosing an individual with migraine, people may fall into the category of migraine with aura or migraine without aura, or both. Often described as a warning sign, the aura stage of migraine is unique because it is only experienced by 25 to 30% of people with migraine.

Are Migraine Auras Dangerous

It isnt completely apparent whether a migraine aura poses a danger to those who experience it.; If there is a restriction of blood supply to the areas of the brain impacted by an aura, it may potentially cause damage to those cells.; Migraine sufferers may have an increased risk of developing changes to the white matter in the brain and a higher likelihood of experiencing; a stroke. People who experience aura regularly during a migraine attack should stay aware of the presence of other signs of a migraine, as symptoms of a TIA can sometimes be confused with an aura.

How To Prevent Migraine With Aura

The treatment for migraines with aura is the same as migraines without aura, Mikhael says. Although aura can be unpleasant and scary, it also gives people the opportunity to interrupt a migraine before the headache becomes severe.

“Because they know the aura is followed with migraine, a lot of our patients get ahead of the game by using abortive medications,” as soon as aura occurs, he says.

Abortive migraine medications including the classes of drugs called triptans and ergotamines interrupt the process that causes a migraine, stopping the condition from progressing into a full-blown headache. Taking these medications upon the first sign of an aura makes them more likely to work, Mikhael says.;

Preventative migraine medications, which can range from beta-blockers to migraine-specific injections like Ajovy, can also help keep migraines with aura at bay.;

Lifestyle changes like reducing stress through daily meditation may help prevent migraines or reduce their severity, too, says Mikhael.

Over time, patients also learn what home remedies like laying in a dark room and avoiding noise can assist with symptoms until medication begins to work.;

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What Are The ‘red Flags’ That My Visual Symptoms Are Not Due To Migraine

The typical symptoms of a visual migraine are positive, meaning that there is something shimmering or sparkling that is disrupting the vision. Migraines are less likely to cause “negative” symptoms of pure visual darkness. An episode of visual darkness typically requires additional evaluation for other conditions, including a mini-stroke .

What Is Migraine Aura

What Does a Migraine Aura Look Like?

In the hour before the onset of a migraine headache, people who experience aura may deal with a range of symptoms that usually last for 20-60 minutes.;

;The most common type of aura is visual, Mikhael says. These symptoms may include:

  • Seeing flashes of light, zig-zag lines, colored spots, or stars.
  • Experiencing tunnel vision.
  • Having blindspots or temporary blindness.

However, migraine aura are highly individualized and symptoms will vary from person to person. Some examples of other migraine aura symptoms involve:;

  • Tingling or numbness in the face, hands, or body.;
  • Speech problems like mumbling, slurring, or having difficulty finding the right word.
  • Hearing sounds, known as auditory hallucinations.;

It’s estimated that half of the people who get migraines have a family member who also experiences the condition, which likely means migraines, including ones with aura, are inherited. Scientists are still working to understand the genetic component of migraine aura.;

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Should I Be Concerned About Ocular Migraines

Q: I recently found out by looking on the Web that my symptoms point to ocular migraines. I have also discovered that flashing lights sometimes bring these on. I am an intensive care unit nurse who believes in not running to doctors for every little thing, but should I be concerned?

Dr. Jerry W. Swanson responds:

Not necessarily, but here’s what you should know. Ocular is a term that usually refers to a condition known as migraine visual aura, which involves episodes of passing visual disturbances, such as bright spots, affecting both eyes. Visual aura usually precedes a migraine . However, it may also occur during a headache. In some cases, as with ocular migraine, people experience the symptoms of visual aura without getting a headache. The symptoms of an aura usually begin slowly and last 15 to 30 minutes, although they sometimes persist for up to an hour.

Often, the symptoms of ocular migraine begin near the center of vision as either a bright spot or area of visual loss that spreads to involve one-quarter or one-half of the visual field. Zigzag lines or other shapes may also appear. For some people, these shapes resemble the walls of a medieval fortress. In fact, the term “fortification spectrum” is used by neurologists to describe it.

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Seeing Colours And Shapes When You Get A Migraine This Is Why

One of the most characteristic symptoms of a migraine is the aura.

Migraine auras are experienced by a third of people who get migraines and they come in many forms. The most common are visual, where a person might see shapes or colours, however auras can be sensory as well.

“A migraine aura is a really unusual set of symptoms,” Professor Paul Rolan told HuffPost Australia.

“In migraine you get excitatory phenomena, you see lines, patterns, colours, shimmering, shapes. These are clearly excitatory and people may get disturbances of speech, disturbances of sensation or movement which is much less common. People may smell strange things.

“The most frequent type of aura is visual, however, there can be speech change, and usually the problem is … they are unable to find the right words. It can be disturbance of smell, it can be disturbance of touch or sensation usually on one side of the body and more rarely it can be paralysis.”

In typical cases, auras last 20 minutes and occur before the full scale of the headache sets in. What’s strange about auras and migraines is that they serve no purpose whatsoever.

Rolan explained that pain is part of the body’s defense system that attempts to shield us from injury and acts as a psychical reminder to avoid a similar situation in the future.

There are a range of other triggers that can induce migraine in some people.These include lifestyle factors like too much or too little sleep and certain types of foods.

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Causes Of Migraine Aura

Migraine aura is believed to be caused primarily by cortical spreading depression .

Brain cells use electrical ions around the cellular membrane to maintain equilibrium. In aura, there is a temporary malfunction of this cellular balance which causes a slow wave of electrical disturbance, the CSD.

This wave of intense excitation across the visual cortex is what is thought to lead to visual aura symptoms including shimmering patches or curves, stars or blind spots etc. After the wave passes it could also cause an abnormal inhibition of activity which may explain the blind spots, partial or temporary blindness.

Neuroimaging studies show some evidence that suggest CSD leads to a temporary decrease in blood supply to certain areas in the brain. The lack of blood supply and the electrical disruptions may account for the wide and varied range of symptoms. It may also help explain differences that can be experienced by the same individual on different occasions.

Why some people have aura and others dont is likely due to several anomalies that researchers dont yet fully understand. It is hypothesized that there are several genetic factors that play a role in a patients predisposition to migraine with aura. Research is taking place to understand potential genes involved in aura which will hopefully lead to specific treatments to prevent aura.

Treatment Options For Migraine With Aura

Migraine Aura Types (1 of 4) – What a VISUAL AURA Looks Like and Simulations of my Migraine Auras

Your treatment options depend on how often you have attacks and how severe they are. It will also depend on other factors such as other illnesses you may have or medication that you take.

Generally, treatment for migraine includes:

  • Acute treatment such as over the counter painkillers, migraine specific treatments and anti-sickness medication. These treatments aim to help manage the symptoms when an attack comes on. You do need to be careful not to take certain acute treatments too many days a month as this can cause medication overuse headache.
  • Preventive treatment such as beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants or anti-epilepsy drugs. These treatments aim to reduce how often you have migraine attacks and how bad they are. You take them every day and build them up to an effective dose. Some people need to try a range of treatments, or may be referred to a specialist if the treatments dont work for them.

Alongside the treatments many people benefit from reviewing whether lifestyle changes can help with their migraine attacks. This can include things like sticking to a routine, waking up at the same time each day, eating at similar times each day and staying hydrated. If there are factors such as alcohol or lack of sleep that seem to trigger your migraine attacks, there might be changes that you can make to help reduce how often you have attacks.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Visual Disturbance

  • Flashes of light
  • These may start in the periphery of your sight, and become larger and more central
  • They may be black and white or brightly coloured
  • Typically described as a zigzagging pattern, or giving the appearance of shards of glass
  • They may be apparent when your eyes are shut
  • The disturbance affects your sight and both eyes are affected.
  • There is no headache during the disturbance
  • The visual disturbance last around 20-30 minutes
  • Trigger: Lack Of Food Or Sleep

    It’s important for people prone to migraine headaches to have a regular pattern of meals and sleep. Low blood sugar from skipping meals can trigger a migraine. Eating too much sugar also can cause a spike, then a “crash” in blood sugar. Drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration and sleep at least six to eight hours a night.

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    An Atlas Misalignment Can Alter Normal Neurological Function

    Migraines are a neurological condition.; Auras, severe headaches, and other migraine symptoms are caused when abnormal signals are being sent and received within the brain and central nervous system.; When the atlas misaligns, it can irritate the nerves and tissues surrounding the brainstem. The atlas may be particularly vulnerable to misaligning because of its unique shape and its greater range of movement.

    Treatment: Triptans Or Ditans

    Migraine with aura; Basilar

    Triptans and ditans are the most common medications prescribed for migraine headaches. They are most effective when taken early in an attack. They include almotriptan, eletriptan , frovatriptan , lasmiditan , naratriptan , rizatriptan and sumatriptan and zolmitriptan . People with high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and other conditions may not be able to take triptans. And because of possible serious drug interactions, you should talk to your doctor about other medications you take, such as antidepressants or anti-seizure drugs. Side effects of triptans include nausea, dizziness, tingling, numbness, and chest pain.

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    What Is A Migraine

    A migraine is a headache with throbbing pain that is usually worse on one side of the head. The pain is often severe enough to hamper daily activities and may last from four hours to three days if untreated. More than one in 10 Americans, including one in 6 women, have migraines, but many have been told mistakenly that they have a sinus or tension headache. Foods, stress, and hormones can be migraine triggers.

    Migraine With Brainstem Aura

    • strong smells, such as that of smoke, perfume, or gasoline
    • weather changes or barometric pressure changes

    Factors that increase the risk of developing migraine, including migraine with aura, include:

    • Sex: Females are two to three times more likely than males to experience migraine. It affects around 1 in 5 females.
    • Age: This condition is most common in those ages 1844.
    • Family history: Around 90% of people with migraine have a family history of the condition.

    The treatment options for migraine with aura are similar to those for other types of migraine.

    Treatment depends on the frequency and severity of a persons symptoms. Some options include:

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    What About Ocular Optical & Ophthalmic Migraine

    You might have heard about ocular migraine, optical migraine or even ophthalmic migraine. These are terms which may be used to describe your migraine condition by others but they are not formally recognized migraine classifications by the International Headache Society or the International Classification of Headache Disorders.

    Often these are terms used by individuals or doctors who are not aware of the ICHD classifications . The terms are essentially translated to eye or eye-related migraines which isnt a particularly helpful diagnosis. The reality is many general doctors may not aware of the globally recognized standard of migraine classifications.

    There is no classification for ocular, optical or ophthalmic migraine under the current ICHD-3. When someone claims they have an ocular, optical or ophthalmic migraine, then sees a qualified doctor to get an official ICHD diagnosis it is likely to fall into one of the four types of migraine with aura discussed above.

    Which type of migraine with aura will depend on the symptoms experienced and diagnosis from your doctor. Below is a symptom & classification table to help you get a headstart.

    Risk Factors And Complications

    Migraine Visual Aura – Office

    Like migraines without aura, migraines with aura dont appear to cause lasting damage, although they can be painful and disruptive.4 However, people who experience migraines with aura may have a slightly higher risk of stroke, and so should be aware of the signs.2,5

    You should also consult a doctor when you first experience aura symptoms, as some of these can also be caused by a stroke, retinal tear or other serious conditions.2

    Migraines are also more common in women than in men, and in people who have a family history of the condition.2

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    How To Get Rid Of An Ocular Migraine With The 3 Truths + Common Treatments

    The most common treatment plan for ocular migranes is to make sure its nothing more serious and then go about a regular migraine treatment approach.

    This usually means a life long sentence of medication.

    Here at Migraine Professional we understand that its more important to focus on what is causing the underlying pathology to create the symptoms than it is to only address symptoms.

    Of course you want to manage symptoms like pain, fatigue, brain fog and visual disturbances so they dont impair your life but you want to make sure you are going about a clear plan of action to deal with the causes.

    If your brain is going through this electrical outagechoke uprevv or whatever you want to call it then you want to continually address and heal the causes of those.

    This means we want to look at 3 different areas.

    1. Inflammation

    3. Structure

    Coping With Migraine With Aura

    Treating migraines with aura should consist of a combination of acute and preventative medication. However,;according to Todd Schwedt, MD, if your symptoms have an immediate onset, last longer than 60 minutes or do not completely resolve, medical attention is required. If you experience additional symptoms, such as weakness on one side of the body, change in consciousness or level of alertness, its time to see a doctor. The condition also increases the risk of stroke because of this, treating other stroke risk factors and avoiding certain medications is important and should be discussed with your physician.

    If you would like more information on migraine and aura, visit the American Migraine Foundations Resource Library, or use our doctor database to locate a specialist in your area.

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    Interactive Exhibit By Uk Artist Fran Kelly Captures The Experience Of A Migraine Aura

    Aura is a sensory disturbance which can manifest as distorted vision, auditory hallucinations and muscle weakness. Exploring the themes of distortion, immersive art, and phenomenology, Fran Kelly aims to capture how a Migraine aura looks and feels.

    Trained as a prop maker, Fran created Maison Migraine, an immersive experience that transforms the viewer into a migraine aura participant.

    Maison Migraine by Fran Kelly is an interactive, multi-sensory installation representing the experience of a migraine attack. Which made us want to interview her and understand her inspiration and challenges in creating this work of art.

    Migraines With Aura Cause Some Migraine Sufferers To See Geometric Patterns And Shiny Waves Heres What You Need To Know About This Type Of Migraine

    What Migraine Visual Auras âLookâ and Feel Like

    The most well-known phase of a migraine is the headache phase. However, for about 10% to 30% of migraine sufferers, the head pain comes with some very distinct warning signs, commonly called an aura.

    A migraine aura is a neurological phenomenon most commonly associated with visual disturbances before the onset of a headache. You may see things like zig zag lines, flashing lights, or other visual effects before your migraine begins.

    However, some auras may involve sensory symptoms or speech and language disturbances.1,2

    Read on to find out more about the causes and symptoms of this common type of migraine and learn how you can get relief when it does strike.

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    What Does A Visual Aura Feel Like

    Visual aura is an aura with visual symptoms. This is the most common kind, occurring in 90 to 99 percent of migraine auras. Besides being the most common kind, these auras are also the most varied, with many different and complex symptoms reported.

    Common characteristics of visual aura can include:

    • flashes of bright light

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