3/3/08 #9 - Migraine frequency affected by heredity?

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  • Full Question:
    I have had migraines since I was 13 years old and they have continued to get worse over the years.  I was finally diagnosed when I was 21 years old, after being treating for sinus problems for sometime without solving the problem.  I am now 26 years old and continue to have migraines 4 to 5 days a week.  I am curious as to how strong of a family history of migraines is typically present in people who themselves have migraines.  I only know of a few illnesses on my Father's side of the family. My Father's mother (my Grandmother) suffered from migraines, but I don't know with what frequency.  On my mothers side of the family the only person to have frequent migraines is my Uncle, although my Mother and her Mom (my Grandmother) have had a handful of migraines throughout their lives.  I done a lot of research and heredity is almost always mentioned as a factor with migraines, but I've yet to find any information relating to the frequency of family history typical for people who suffer from migraines.  Any information you have or references would be appreciated.  Thank you, Karen.

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    Answer:

     

    Dear Karen;

     

    At this time, we know that there is a genetic component to having Migraine disease. That if there is a history of Migraine in one parent's family, children have a 50% chance of inheriting the disease; 75% chance if there is a history of Migraine on both parents' families.

     

    Beyond that, we don't know that heredity influences how the disease manifests. How frequently people in your family had Migraines, what their triggers were, etc., doesn't necessarily mean anything about how frequent your Migraines will be. For example, siblings with the exact same family history, both of whom inherit Migraine disease, may have very different Migraine patterns. Their frequency of attacks, severity of attacks, triggers, how they respond to treatment, etc., can vary widely.

     

    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

     

    If you need to find a headache and Migraine specialist, please see our listing of patient recommended specialists.

     

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    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.

     

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    We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.

     

    © Teri Robert and J.C. Krusz, 2007.

    Last updated March 2, 2008.

     

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Published On: March 02, 2008