Awareness Week is an annual campaign that will be observed from 6 to 12
September in 2015 to draw attention to migraine. Every year, migraine awareness
week is observed to educate the public on the seriousness of the condition and
reduce its stigma. This year, the focus of Migraine Awareness Week will be on
is a neurological condition with no known
cause or cure. Women are more prone to suffer a migraine than men, and it can
affect people from all age groups. It often starts in childhood and many people
suffer from migraine throughout their life. It also has a negative impact on
their family, work and social lives.
is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma, as it affects one out of
seven people. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines migraine as one of
the most disabling lifetime conditions yet awareness and understanding of the
condition is low.
affects people in different ways, but it is often mistaken for other
conditions. The main symptom of migraine is a painful headache, often on one
side of the head. However, it can affect the whole body and can result in many
symptoms, sometimes without a headache at all.
are other associated symptoms that can occur with or without a headache, such
as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased sensitivity to light, sound and smell.
Some of the neurological symptoms include, blind spots, distorted vision,
flashing lights or zigzag patterns. Other common symptoms are dizziness,
vertigo, inability to concentrate, confusion and difficulty in speaking.
various episodes of a migraine attack, the symptoms can vary from person to
person. A migraine attack can normally last between 4 and 72 hours.
is no clear diagnostic test or cure
. Diagnosis depends on the
history and patterns of migraine attacks. However, there are many ways to
manage the condition and ultimately reduce the disruption caused to everyday
Common Triggers of
is often triggered by a factor or a combination of several factors. It may be
an environmental or emotional event. The common triggers of migraine are
dehydration, bright and flashing lights, skipping breakfast, caffeinated
beverages, lack of sleep, excitement, stress, smoking, menstruation, changes in
hormone levels, travel, spending more time in front of television or computer
and lack of physical activity. It is important to identify the triggers as it
can be beneficial to make some changes to help prevent a migraine.
Migraine in Children
and Young Adults
can affect even very young children. It is widespread among children and young
adults. A migraine affects 2% of five-year-old children and 18% of 15 to 18 year-olds. Migraine is inherited from a parent. It occurs because of the
alterations in an individual's genetic makeup.
10% of school-going children suffer from migraine and they can feel isolated
and frightened during an attack.
in children and young adults can often go undiagnosed and untreated, which can
have a negative impact in terms of well-being and education. The duration of
migraine attack is often shorter in children and young adults, which could be
due to triggers like anxiety, exams, stress and excitement.
headache is common in adults, but it is a less of a feature in children.
Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are the key symptoms of migraine in
children, sometimes without the presence of a headache at all. Migraine attack
in children last for an hour, but can be as long as three days. The frequency
of attack varies in children, but the average is one per month.
A migraine may begin at the age of five and at 10 to 12
years, but is seen to be more common in girls, who experience their first
attack around puberty.
is no cure for migraine, but there are different treatments available to help
prevent migraine and limit their effects. Treatment for migraine depends on
factors such as age, medical history, frequency and severity of attacks.
children and young adults do not need medications to treat a migraine.
Non-medication treatments can provide added benefits. During an episode of
migraine attack, a child should be allowed to sleep in a quiet and cool room.
Stress management and relaxation techniques
to be beneficial during a migraine attack and to alleviate stress before it
triggers an attack. Relaxation techniques such as breathing
, mental imaginary relaxation
or relaxation to music are effective in alleviating a migraine attack. Regular
physical activity is also important to prevent migraine attacks.
technique is called as biofeedback, where painless sensors are connected to the
body to monitor changes in several physical functions, such as muscle tension,
heart rate and blood pressure. A biofeedback
therapist helps a child to recognize
the signs of tension and teaches the physical skills to release and control the
types of medications are available to alleviate the symptoms of migraine.
Analgesics, such as acetaminophen
are pain relievers for treatment of
headaches in children and young adults. Children, who do not find analgesics
helpful, can be benefited with Triptans.
may also prescribe antiemetics to stop nausea and vomiting to help a child
rest. Children and young adults, who experience migraine attacks more than
twice a week, may be prescribed a daily medicine to prevent headaches.