Working to Unravel the Mystery of Migraines

Medical Minutes

Its estimated about 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Slightly over half of them, 28 million, experience migranes, tthe survey's third ranking health concern for women between 35 and

News Channel 8 promotions director Patty Boynton is a migrane
sufferrer . . . ask her what an episode feels like and she's all too happy
to explain.

"A mild irritation that shuts down my vision to sensitivity that puts me in the dark for a couple of days because I can't, I can't stand the light," she says.

Along with light sensitivity, Patty says her headaches have limited
her activities for a day or more in the last three months.

Those two questions, along with becoming nauseated or sick to the stomach during the headache, help doctors determine if you have migranes.

Its a condition that often goes underdiagnosed according to a new study in the Journal "Neurology."

Here's how this particular type of headache works.

Before a migraine some arteries constrict, the reduced blood flow to the brain produces the auras and other warning signs of a migraine. Arteries in the scalp then become inflamed and nerves there become extra sensitive to pain.

Every time the arteries pulse, the nerves send a message of
throbbing pain to the brain.

No one know exactly why some people like Patty have migraines and
others don't. But researchers do know they tend to run in families.

Treatment can involve drugs which are used at the time of the
episode to these drugs whch can help prevent an episode from

They both work by altering blood flow. The trick is to get a proper diagnosis and being able to work closely with a doctor who can treat migraines.

"The key to successful migraine treatment in my opinion is establishng
a rapport with the patient understanding their description of the
headache and choosing a medication that will be compatible with their lifestyle," says Dr. Paul Katz. "And you know the more you listen to a patient, the more guidance the patient will igve you as to what would be the best treatment."

If you'd like more information on migranes. We've set up a links for
you to the Cleveland Clinic. Go to the "links are of this Web site and check under Medical Minutes.