According to statistics from health and medical research charity The Migraine Trust, there are 190,000 migraine attacks in the UK every single day. And with 8 millions sufferers in the UK alone, it is the most common neurological condition.
A symptom of abnormal brain activity, migraines can attack with great intensity and debilitating results. These often include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intolerance for light, noise or smells
- Inability to function properly
As many as 1 in 5 victims of migraines are even afflicted by visual or auditory hallucinations known as aura, but the effects of migraines can be wide ranging. It is for this reason that migraines are often misunderstood or misrepresented in the public eye.
How long do migraines last?
The duration of a migraine can vary hugely. Some people are relatively fortunate and suffer from headaches that last an hour or two; others can be afflicted for days.
Post-migraine fatigue can still affect an individual’s ability to work, exercise or function normally for days after the worst of the pain has subsided.
What triggers a migraine?
Again, it is difficult to pigeon-hole the triggers for migraines because they can be wide ranging and vary from person to person. There is also much that is still unknown about migraines, which can make it hard to diagnose, predict or treat. Some of the most common triggers are:
- Period onset
More common than epilepsy, asthma and diabetes combined, migraines attacks two people every second of the day on average in Britain. And due to close connections with period problems they are thought to affect twice as many women as men.
The damage done by migraines
Despite being so widespread, migraines receive less funding than almost any other neurological illness. This is an astounding figure when we consider the social and economic damage caused by migraines.
It is estimated that depression is three times more common in people with migraines or severe headaches than in healthy individuals. Due to a lack of awareness and appreciation for the implications of migraines, less than half of sufferers consult their GP about headache issues. Nevertheless, the annual cost of migraine medication in this country is £150million per year.
Here are some more shocking migraine stats:
- 25million working days are lost due to migraine-related sick days
- Migraine-related sick leave is thought to cost £2.25billion a year
How can migraines be treated?
Sadly, there is no definitive cure for migraines. and although sufferers have tried everything from cycling to electro-therapy to reduce their onset, there are no guarantees of resolving the problem altogether. Instead, there are a number of tried and tested steps that can help reduce frequency and intensity. These include:
- Taking steps to de-stress
- Maintaining a good sleep routine
- Avoiding strain on the eyes
- Eating a balanced diet and avoiding any trigger foods
- Keeping coffee consumption to a minimum
- Staying hydrated
There are also some effective prescription medications on the market today to combat the effects of migraines. These include, Rizatriptan, Sumatriptan, Zolmtriptan and a number of other variations on these migraine relief medications.