A new Swedish study suggests that a migraine headache decreases over the years. As you grow older the attacks are fewer, are less painful and do not last much long.
These findings were presented this week at the American Headache Society annual meeting in Chicago, by Carl Dahlof, M.D., Ph.D, a neurologist and medical director and founder of the Gothenburg Migraine Clinic in Gothenberg. He said "It does seem that in most people migraine is not a progressive disease,"
Dahlof and his colleagues randomly selected 374 migraine patients, including 200 women and 174 men with an average age of 55, following them from 1994 to 2006. At the study's start, they reported having one to six migraines a month.
Over the 12-year period, the migraines of nearly 30 percent of the patients resolved, usually meaning they disappeared, Dahlof tells. "The majority, 91 percent (of these 110), had not had a migraine attack for at least two years," Dahlof says. The remaining 264 had milder, briefer and fewer attacks.
But despite improve in the symptoms the patient still stayed away from work and social events.
The subject of migraines dominated the meeting. About 28 million Americans suffer from migraines, headaches that are as debilitating as they are common. About one in five women, and one in 20 men, report suffering from the inherited disorder that is associated with nausea, vomiting, numb hands and a sensitivity to light.
Doctors are still searching for treatments. Triptan medications are available in the market but it is not suitable for people with heart disease and it does not work for one third of the migraine sufferers.
Researchers from the Merck Drug presented its finding on a new migraine pill. The pill considerably erased the pain within two hour in a mid- stage trail. It showed no cardiovascular side effects. The drug MK-0974 sustained pain relief for 24 hours. The drug is under going late stages of clinical trails. If approved it would compete with members of the triptan class of migraine-drugs.
Researchers from St. Louis University presented findings showing that migraine sufferers forgo taking their medication when they need it because insurance companies often limit the number of migraine pills people are allowed each month. Trip tans work most effectively when taken at the first sign of a migraine, but patients hold off, not wanting to "waste a pill," the doctors said.
Dahlof says early management of migraines by a specialist may be the driving force to making them disappear or improve over time. Other measures to lessen the chances of migraine attacks include maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding overuse of headache medication and caffeine, and getting treatment for any sleep problems.