2/28/07 Podcast: Migraines - What Are They, Really?
The transcript of this podcast is below. If you prefer to listen to it, you can do so easily from the MigraineCast Web site.
Welcome to MigraineCast, the weekly podcast brought to you by MyMigraineConnection.com and the HealthCentral Network. Today's topic is "What are Migraines, really?" Here's a myth for you. Migraines are just bad headaches. Now, what's the truth behind that myth?
Migraine has now been shown to be a genetic neurological disease characterized by flare-ups most often called "Migraine attacks." A headache can be one symptom of a Migraine attack, but it's just that -- one of the possible symptoms. Some Migraineurs (people with Migraine disease) have Migraine attacks without having a headache.
There are still multiple theories of what actually occurs in the brain when we encounter a trigger and a Migraine attack occurs. The most prevalent theory is that Migraineurs have overly excitable neurons in our brains. When a trigger is encountered, those neurons fire in a wave across the brain, starting a chain reaction. Blood vessels in the brain become dilated, nerves and tissues surrounding those vessels become inflamed, and the levels and balance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, neoepinephrine, and dopimine are affected. It's this chain of events that cause the symptoms of Migraine. The possible aura, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and the possible headache, a headache that is more often on one side and is often throbbing or pulsing and is made worse by phsyical activity. Other symptoms that can be quite frightening can include motor weakenss, difficulty speaking or concentrating, one-sided paralysis, or temporary blindness.
Why is it important to distinguish between a Migraine attack and a headache? It's important so we can be properly diagnosed and get the best treatment. Treatment for Migraine can be quite different from treatment for headaches. Today, there are medications that can actually work in the brain to stop the Migrainous process and symptoms and let us get back to our lives. That's a far cry from the days when all we could do was take something for pain and hide out in a quiet dark room.
After living with Migraine disease for over 40 years, I've discovered that learning about Migraine disease can allow us to work with our doctors to gain control over this disease rather than the disease controlling us. Please join us at MyMigraineConnection.com for information and support or for a transcript of this podcast. For MyMigraineConnection and the HealthCentral Network, this is Teri Robert letting you know that you can live well with Migraine disease and headaches.