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Migraines can be debilitating. Unfortunately, they are common.
- 36 million adults in America each year.
13% of Adults
10% of Children
25% of US Households
Migraine is one of the most disabling conditions, and financially burdensome
91% miss work or can’t function during an attack
113 million workdays are lost each year
$13 billion annual impact on employers
For some, the aura or accompanying symptoms of the migraine can be worse than the pain due to frequency or severity. Auras may be intrusive and can mimic stroke symptoms. They can involve visual obscurations, vertigo, weakness, changes in sensation, difficulty with speech or language, among others.
Associated symptoms can be just as bothersome. These include: light and sound sensitivity, sensitivity to smells, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, motion sickness and lightheadedness. Patients with migraines often lead lives avoiding triggers, that is, being creatures of habit (Learn more about migraine triggers). For some, this is enough. For others, other therapy is necessary.
HeadAid is targeted at the migraine pain and associated symptoms. It also targets certain limitations that exist for the treatment of migraine, as follows:
Safety: Several common migraine medications are contraindicated in patients with comorbid diseases (i.e. vascular disease).
HeadAid was created to minimize contraindications, interactions with medications, and side effects.
Efficacy: Many products only work when they are given very early. Further, many have side effects that limit their use. Our products can be used alone or to boost the efficacy of over-the-counter and prescription migraine medicine with minimal side effects.
Ease of Administration: Most patients use 1 or more pills to abort a headache, which can be problematic due to nausea. Our product is a dissolvable effervescent powder to maximize ease of administration.
History of Migraine
Migraine is perhaps one of the oldest recognized disorders of the nervous system. Its original name “hemicrania,” is derived from the Greek word hemikrania, meaning half (hemi) of the skull (kranion). Many migraineurs experience headache on half of their head. In ancient times, migraine was thought to be caused by evil spirits, and one treatment was to bore holes in the skull to “release” them. A bit less abstract, Hippocrates thought there were bad “humors” in the blood and bodily fluids. Vomiting was thought to release the humors, hence with migraineurs often felt better after this occurred. Some treatments involved provoking vomiting for this reason. Another means to release these humors was thorough bloodletting. This was particularly popular in the medieval period, but was used up to the early century. Blood flow, vasodilation on “congestion” became common theory throughout the years for migraine. Probable the best evidence for change in vasomotor activity (blood vessel constriction and dilation) was in the 1950s by Wolff and Graham, who noted dilation during a migraine attack and constriction with certain medications (ergotamines).
Decades later, the relationship between vasomotor activity and migraine remains debated, as many believe they are correlated, but that changes in vascular tone do not actually cause migraine, occurring rather due to the complex wiring during a migraine. Another popular theory has dealt with electrical and chemical changes in the brainstem’s pain center, radiating upwards into the brain. This theory is currently the most popular, and is backed by sophisticated studies, including those with functional imaging. Essentially, the migraine patient can be thought of as someone with a sensitive brain, overreacting to normal sensory stimuli (ie bright lights, loud sounds, motion, smells, etc.). This concept is fitting with the migraine life-cycle and the presence of migraine triggers. It is with this pathophysiologic concept of migraine in mind that HeadAid was created.
Migraine with Aura
Migraine aura symptoms include temporary visual or sensory disturbances that usually strike before other migraine symptoms — such as intense head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine aura usually occurs within an hour before head pain begins and generally lasts less than 60 minutes. Sometimes migraine aura occurs with little or no headache, especially in people age 50 and older.
Visual signs and symptoms
Most people who experience migraine with aura develop temporary visual signs and symptoms of aura. These may include:
Blind spots (scotomas), which are sometimes outlined by simple geometric designs
Zigzag lines that gradually float across your field of vision
Shimmering spots or stars
Changes in vision or vision loss
Flashes of light
These types of visual disturbances tend to start in the center of your field of vision and spread outward.
Other sensory disturbances
Other temporary sensations sometimes associated with migraine aura include:
Feelings of numbness, typically felt as tingling in one hand or in your face
Difficulty with speech or language
When to see a doctor
See your doctor immediately if you experience the signs and symptoms of migraine with aura, such as temporary vision loss or floating spots or zigzag lines in your field of vision. Your doctor will need to rule out more-serious conditions, such as a stroke or retinal tear.
Once these conditions are ruled out, you won't need to see your doctor about future migraines unless your symptoms change.
The cause of migraine with aura isn't clearly understood. It's believed that the migraine with visual aura is like an electrical or chemical wave that moves across the part of your brain that processes visual signals (visual cortex) and causes these visual hallucinations.
Many of the same factors that trigger migraine can also trigger migraine with aura, including stress, bright lights, some foods and medications, too much or too little sleep, and menstruation.
Although no specific factors appear to increase the risk of migraine with aura, migraines in general seem to be more common in people with a family history of migraine. Migraines are also more common in women than men.
People who have migraine with aura are at a slightly higher risk of stroke. Women who have migraine with aura appear to have an even higher risk of stroke if they smoke or take birth control pills.
Many migraineurs will note certain smells, foods, environmental stimuli, and changes in daily habits will trigger, or at least worsen a migraine. Avoidance of these triggers is one step to reducing migraines and their associated symptoms, such as nausea. The following is a list of common triggers:
- Aged cheeses
- Artificial sweeteners ( Ie aspartame)
- Caffeine (acutely this typically helps a migraine, but daily/excessive intake can worsen headache)
- Citrus fruits
- Cured meats
- Lights ( particularly with glare, flickering, fluorescent)
- MSG ( common food additive that may be listed as “monosodium glutamate” or “natural flavor”)
- Nitrites or nitrates
- Over or under sleeping
- Over or under eating
- Over or under exercising
- Weather changes, particularly with the barometric pressure changes
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