If you've ever had a migraine headache, then you know how debilitating they can be. Migraine sufferers typically experience a diminished quality of life along with impaired physical, social and occupational functioning. The pain can be severe.
The statistics may startle you. Migraine afflicts an estimated 10% of the world's population. In the United States, The Institute of Medicine recently reported that nearly 40 million Americans suffer from migraines. (1)
At a recent meeting of the American Pain Society (APS), David Dodick, M.D. and professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, noted that migraines have a genetic and biological basis.
"Today we know that migraine is a largely inherited disorder characterized by physiological changes in the brain, and, if attacks occur with high frequency, structural alterations in the brain," Dodick said. (1)
So... are you at risk for getting migraine headaches? It may not be a twist of fate if you are experiencing them right now. There could be something else going on that is a contributing factor.
Some of the triggers can be managed, such as stress, lifestyle choices including smoking and drinking, and high blood pressure. But equally important are the factors you have no control over that can predispose you to the condition.
Having one of more of the predetermined risk factors for migraine headaches doesn't mean you will inevitably develop migraines. However, being aware of the risks will help you arm yourself with the knowledge that you need to prevent and treat migraines should they occur.
The risk factors you have little control over include the following:
Family history — If your parents had migraines, your risk may be increased by up to 75%. If possible, it can be helpful to talk to them about their experience, so you can set into place a plan for prevention. Your family history of migraines will also make the diagnostic process simpler.
Gender — If you are female, you are at greater risk to develop migraines. During childhood, boys and girls have the same chance of developing migraine headaches. However, once hormones take center stage, the risks to a female jump significantly. In fact, adult women are three times more likely than men to get migraines. (2)
Hormonal changes — If you are a woman who gets migraines, hormones may be the culprit. During the menstrual cycle each month, hormone fluctuations can cause migraines. Any stress that causes hormones to spike can cause a migraine to occur if a person is susceptible.
Ethnicity — North American Caucasians appear to have a higher risk of developing migraines than either African Americans or Asian Americans. Migraines are less common in Europe or South America and much less common in Africa or Asia. Studies haven't connected this with any conditions in the environment, food supply, or medical knowledge, only genetics.(3)
If you have one or more of these risk factors, talk to your doctor about possible preventative measures. Discuss all your options to keep migraines from becoming a part of your life. In fact, according to Dr. Dodick, "Some studies have shown that migraine attacks can be cut in half or more with preventive treatments."
In addition, keep a bottle of Isoprex on hand. Isoprex is an all natural pain relief formula that can help minimize headache pains... without the side effects or dangers of NSAIDs.
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