Migraines beginning at age 55?

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    I have recently been diagnosed has having migraine headaches.  I turned 55 in July.  Is there a certain trigger I can watch for just because of my age?  Nothing in my lifestyle has changed except that I did quit smoking a year ago and gained 20 lbs.  I am still not obese by any means.  I am 5'2" and weigh 130 lbs.  My blood pressure was a bit higher than normal and seems to be staying at 125 - 130 over 73-78.

    I am an avid gardener and very active.  My Dr. did prescribe Verapamil 180mg. I have had one migraine onset since my visit to the dr. I chose not to be prescribed anything for the Migraine until I was able to really research what medications were available and what they did and what the side effects were. Why now at this stage in my life am I have migraine headaches?  Opinions on medications?  I am leaning towards trying the Midrin.  Can you state an opinion on this drug?

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    Thank you, Terri.


    Dear Terri;

    Migraine is a genetic neurological disease. For some people, it begins to manifest with Migraine attacks later in life than others, and nobody truly understands why. When someone begins having Migraines after the age of 50, it's advised that imaging studies be performed to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no test to confirm Migraine, so diagnosing is always a process of ruling out other possible conditions.

    Midrin is at least a place to start, but ask your doctor to prescribe Epidrin. It's the same drug made by a different company, and Midrin is no longer being made. If the Epidrin doesn't work for you, you can still try other Migraine medications. There's no way to know in advance what will work for whom.

    Something else to investigate is what triggers your Migraines. Trigger identification and management is a vital component of managing Migraine disease. One of the best tools for identifying triggers is a good Migraine diary. You can download a free diary workbook from our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary. Some of us have food triggers; some of us don't. It's advisable to determine if your daughter does, and an elimination diet is the best way to do that. For more information and a workbook on this, see Managing Migraine - Migraine Trigger Foods.

    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

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    About Ask the Clinician:

    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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    Last updated December 7, 2009.

Published On: December 08, 2009