What Is Migraine? What Causes Migraines?

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Migraine headache is a neurological disease and is 3 times more common in women than in men. Adolescents and children also suffer from migraine headache. Migraine headaches are caused by nerve cell production of pain signals including prostaglandins and serotonins often in response to brain blood vessel constriction which is followed by expansion.migraine-headache_

Migraine symptoms include throbbing vascular headache which is quite painful. This severe headache is preceded and accompanied by warning signs that are sensory in nature like blind spots, flashes of light, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, increased sensitivity to light and sound and tingling in arms and legs which delays the emptying of stomach into the small intestine thus affecting food absoption,decreasing blood circulation leading to cold hands and feet. Migraine headaches usually last for hours or even days.

Actually migraine headaches result from a combination of blood vessel enlargement and the subsequent release of chemicals from nerve fibres.During the headache, an artery located on the outside of the skull under temporal artery, enlarges and causes release of chemicals which cause pain, inflammation and further enlargement of the artery.

What Causes Migraines?

Factors that cause the headaches include:

  • Allergies
  • Loud noises
  • Bright lights
  • Sensitivity to perfumes
  • Irregular sleep
  • Smoking and exposure to smoke
  • Use of alcohol
  • Skipping meals
  • Fluctuations in menstrual cycle
  • Tension headaches
  • Weather changes
  • Caffeine
  • Foods that contain nitrates like hot dogs and lunch meats
  • Foods that contain monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer
  • Foods that contain tyramine
  • Aspartame

It is not necessary that these factors always produce headaches and avoiding them may help preventing migraine headaches.

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Filed Under: DiseasesGeneral HealthPain

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