About ten million people in Germany suffer from migraine. The symptoms of the disease are a huge burden for those affected. During a migraine attack, a normal daily routine is out of the question and the quality of life drops to a minimum. Despite these dramatic limitations, not even half of those affected are receiving medical treatment. Often they do not even know that the symptoms are caused by a migraine.
Symptoms of migraine
The disease can be determined by three questions with an accuracy of 93 percent. You have to answer two of the following three questions with "yes"? Then you should go to the doctor:
- Have your activities been restricted for a day or more by headaches during the past three months?
- Do you suffer from nausea or vomiting during your headache?
- Does it bother you with light / brightness during headache attacks?
Migraine sufferers typically suffer from seizure-type, severe pain, typically limited to one half of the head. The pain has a throbbing or throbbing character and increases with physical exertion. Not infrequently, the migraine attack is initiated by harbingers such as eye fibrillation or other visual disturbances, balance or sensory disturbances (aura).
Elaborate special examinations are usually not necessary. Since headaches can also be signs of other illnesses, the diagnosis should be backed up by the doctor. In addition, he can initiate a suitable therapy against the "thunderstorm in the head".
Treatment of migraine
In principle, the therapy can be distinguished in an acute attack and preventive measures. In case of a slight migraine attack, the German Migraine and Headache Society (DMKG) recommends the early and sufficiently high-dose intake of paracetamol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
Moderate and severe migraine attacks are treated with triptans - agents that are effective against migraine and have the best efficacy in acute attacks. They interrupt the pain signals and relieve the migraine symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. However, although triptans are the drugs of first choice for the treatment of severe migraine, only ten percent of women with migraine receive appropriate treatment in Germany. Headache experts therefore demand that the quality of treatment be increased.
Preventive migraine treatment
If migraine attacks occur more frequently, a preventive treatment may be considered. As first-choice drugs, the DMKG recommends the beta-blockers metoprolol and propranolol, flunarizine (a substance that is also used in cases of dizziness), as well as valproic acid and topiramate, which also help with epilepsy. As second choice substances, amitriptyline, venlafaxine, gabapentin, naproxen, acetylsalicylic acid, butterbur, magnesium and vitamin B2 are available.
The coupling of drug treatment with other measures often proves particularly effective. The focus is on appropriate lifestyles (eg sufficient sleep and relaxation, avoiding certain foods, eg red wine, cheese, chocolate, regular physical balance); Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy are often helpful.
Counter migraine attacks in time
The sooner you intervene in a threatening attack, the milder it often proceeds. Announce an attack, cancel all appointments, retire and go to bed. Do not hesitate to take a drug - a study shows that patients who took a triptan at an early stage, had higher chances of complete freedom from pain as sufferers who waited until the attack was moderate to severe.
Are you unsure if you are really suffering from migraine or are you worried about the side effects of medication? Talk to your doctor! This is all the more important as migraineurs are twice as likely to have heart disease as other people. In a study conducted by the National Institute of Health in Bethesda (USA), data from 520 migraine sufferers were compared with healthy controls.
In the migraine patients there was an accumulation of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. They had elevated cholesterol, increased blood pressure and smoked more frequently than the controls. A genetic predisposition was also recognizable. Thus, more heart attack occurred in the parents.
Tip: As a person affected, you should regularly visit the check-up check-ups and take note of your cardiovascular risk factors. Also recommended is a regular fitness program with endurance sports.