I am sure that at one point in your life, you have a throbbing headache which is almost blinding. These painful headaches are referred to as migraines and they are leading causes of emergency room visits in America. Actually, severe headaches and migraines affect more than 13% of all the Americans. This goes to show that it is a very common problem in the country. Actually the prevalence of migraines in the country is very high. They are the leading causes of outpatient and emergency room visits particularly among women in their reproductive years. We want to take a quick look at the causes of these migraines, their symptoms, their diagnosis, treatment and when to go to the emergency room because of migraines.
What are migraines?
These are forms of debilitating headaches which are caused by abnormal brain activity and cause an alteration in the way nerve signals reception. They cause changes in hormone release and blood flow in the brain. They are very strong impounding headaches and are typically felt on one side of the head or just above the eyes.
Causes and triggers of migraines
There are very many causes of these blinding headaches and some people are lucky enough to be able to identify the things that trigger the migraines in their lives while others can’t pin point the things that trigger the headaches. I personally am one of the many people whose migraines are triggered by flashing bright lights and lights from computer screens. This means that any time I encounter these bright lights without proper eye protection, I start experiencing headaches and nausea. This is different for some people though. Here are some of the top causes of migraines and blistering headaches in America;
Allergies to certain scents and smells of perfumes and sprays. The moment the body senses these scents, migraine kicks in.
Bright lights, flashing lights, flickering lights, lights from computer screens, light from welding torches and even car light from car headlamps in the dark. These lights trigger what is popularly referred to as ocular migraine as the pain will mainly be felt in the eyes!
Physical and emotional stress, tension, anxiety, depression and even excessive excitement has been found to cause these migraines. When one thinks too much about certain things, then it takes a toll on them and hormonal activity and change in brain activity leads to the migraines kicking in.
Tiredness, fatigue, jet lag, lack of sleep, hunger, dehydration and fasting have also been found to cause migraines within the US.
Some drugs such as alcohol and tobacco have also been found to cause some forms of migraine in some people.
Some foods containing tyramine such as red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs and salami are also key suspects in triggering migraines.
Some medication tablets and drugs such as sleeping tablets, contraceptives and any other form of drug that interrupts the body’s hormone cycle, can cause migraines as well.
Signs and symptoms of migraines
The symptoms of migraines might either precede the migraines or come in as afters. Although the migraine signs and symptoms are different in people, here are the most common signs and symptoms of migraines;
Severe pain- Almost all the migraines I know about, are characterized by moderate to severe headache. The headaches normally tend to be confined to one side of the head but some cover the entire head. The pain is normally throbbing and coincides with the heartbeat. This means that every time your heart beats, you can feel the throbbing pain in your head. It comes in almost regular pulses.
2. Fatigue- The other symptom associated with migraines is fatigue and general feeling of sickness. You feel physically weak and can’t do the normal physical activities which you can easily carry out when you are not sick.
3. Sensitivity to light and sound-The other thing that is associated with migraines is the increased sensitivity to light and sound around you. All you want is to be in a dark room which is quiet and has very few distractions. You actually feel relieved when you keep your eyes closed.
4. Nausea and vomiting- There is a feeling of nausea as well when you are suffering from a migraine. You feel like vomiting and it can be accompanied with diarrhoea.
Treatment of migraine by emergency rooms
The treatment of migraine really varies. People respond different to the available treatments. Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and other analgesics are used to eliminate the headaches. Painkiller should also be taken early before the severe headache kicks. Anti-emetics and antidepressants are also prescribed to reduce the symptoms.
How to prevent migraine development
If you know the main causes and triggers of your migraines, then you need to avoid them at all costs. Avoid the scents and sights that trigger your migraines. Get enough sleep and rest as well and always take things easy.