Migraines: Stats, Symptoms and Strategy

A woman has a migraine.If you've had one, you know the throbbing pain, nausea, intense sensitivity to light and increased pain during physical activity. According to Medical News Today, migraines effect approximately 12 percent of all Americans from ages 15 to 55. While the overall cause is largely unknown, some can identify certain triggers or factors causing these types of headaches. 

Women, unfortunately, are up to four times more likely to experience migraines. Some of the main triggers causing migraines in women include lack of sleep, skipped meals, hormone changes, alcohol and foods that contain nitrates and tyramine. Generally, there are two different types of migraines, those with an aura and those without an aura. An aura occurs 10-30 minutes before a migraine begins. These sensory symptoms can include:

  • Seeing flashing lights or blind spots
  • Experiencing numbness in the face or hands
  • Feeling mentally fuzzy
  • Lacking sense of smell, taste or touch

Tension and sinus headaches can often be misdiagnosed as a migraine.

Tension headaches are not usually one-sided and don’t cause nausea or vomiting like migraines.

To tell if you have a sinus headache, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Do I have a moderate to severe headache?
  2. Do I have nausea?
  3. Do I have sensitivity to light?

If you can answer yes to two out three, then you may have a migraine with sinus symptoms.

If you have a worrisome headache, speak with your primary care physician about your symptoms. If you do not have a primary care physician, search for a physician near you or call, 1-800-BAYCARE (1-800-229-2273).

To help treat the cause of migraines, keep a diary that notes the time of day the headache started, where and what you were doing, what you ate in the last 24 hours and where you were in your menstrual cycle. Take this diary to your physician so that you can both determine your triggers and what medication would best help prevent future headaches.