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What is a Migraine?

The answer is: a lot of people do. As many as 28 million Americans suffer from recurrent migraine headaches. These headaches are three times more common among women and can run in the family. Approximately 70 percent of migraine sufferers have an immediate family member who also experiences these headaches.

The symptoms of a migraine can vary from person to person and from attack to attack. Although not everyone will experience all of them, common symptoms include:

  • Moderate to severe pulsating or throbbing pain
  • Pain that is worse when you move
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Tunnel vision or seeing spots

  • What causes migraines?
    During a migraine, blood vessels in the brain swell, causing irritation and pain in the surrounding area. While the exact cause of the swelling is no known, a variety of external factors can trigger these episodes.

    Specific factors that may trigger migraines include:

  • External stress-resulting from work, relationships, or other pressures
  • Change in sleep pattern- including either too little or too much sleep
  • Changes in diet or eating patterns- skipping meals which can lower the body's blood sugar level.
  • Consuming caffeine, certain food additives like MSG (a seasoning used in some foods).
  • Some medication- such as oral contraceptives (birth control pills) and asthma treatments
  • Even the weather- storm fronts and sudden changes in barometric pressure.

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