June Is National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

1 Jun

Unless you or someone close to you suffers from migraines, you might not be aware that June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (NAHM). Migraines significantly impact lives, and it’s important for this condition to be recognised for what it is – not just another headache.

You may also not know that migraine is a genetic Neurological condition, like epilepsy. Headache may be the most common or well-known symptom of migraine, however it is a complex brain disorder with many possible symptoms. Some patients can have a migraine with no headache. What many people are not aware of is that there are numerous types of headache and migraine disorders. The International Headache Society (HIS) classifies the various types of migraines and headaches using strict diagnostic criteria.

The reason I am writing this blog is to help spread awareness about migraines as it’s hard to ‘get’ migraines unless you suffer from them. As many of you know and as mentioned in my previous blogs, a very close friend was diagnosed with New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH) with Migraine Subtype and Myofascial Pain Syndrome a few years ago. I also suffer from Migraines with Aura and Primary Stabbing Headaches (Ice Pick Headaches).

Below are some facts about migraines:

  • Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world.
  • Migraine is most common between the ages of 25 and 55.
  • Migraine tends to run in families. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.
  • Migraine is more common than asthma, epilepsy and diabetes combined.
  • While most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, more than 4 million people have chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.
  • About 25% of migraine sufferers also have a visual disturbance called an aura, which usually lasts less than an hour.
  • Roughly 1 in 4 women will experience migraine in their lives.
  • Three times as many women as men suffer from migraine in adulthood.
  • Migraine often goes undiagnosed in children.
  • A child who has one parent with migraine has a 50% chance of inheriting it, and if both parents have migraine, the chances rise to 75%.

Migraines are often misunderstood, or dismissed as “just a headache.” Yet migraines have the capacity to disrupt a person’s life, relationships, and sense of well-being. We have to learn not to judge others until we fully realise what they are going through. Just because someone looks ‘good’ and their illness is not visible to the onlooker, doesn’t mean they are not in pain. Next time a friend or family member tells you they have a migraine or they have to cancel plans due to one, try and understand what they are going through and be as supportive as you can.

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