From Health Union:
Philadelphia, August 31, 2016 – Migraine in America 2016, a national survey by Health Union of more than 3,900 individuals experiencing migraines, reveals that patients have numerous treatment options, but are often dissatisfied with results. A summary infographic is also available. Many reported difficulty receiving a diagnosis, particularly when young. In addition, respondents noted feeling isolated and stigmatized due to the condition.
Migraines are a genetic neurological disease, characterized by severe head pain often accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines are quite different from regular headaches. Besides their debilitating nature, they can often last at least four hours or even days. About 37 million people in the U.S. have migraines, with the World Health Organization estimating they affect 18% of women and 7% of men in the U.S.
Although the exact causes of migraines are unknown, brain scans show that they may be caused by hyperactivity in parts of the brain. Triggers vary widely be individual. While 97% of survey participants identified their triggers, and 91% of these individuals take special steps to avoid them, the most common triggers (such as weather or barometric pressure changes, certain smells, and bright lights) are impossible to avoid.
Migraines are difficult to diagnose, as it is considered a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other possible causes of the symptoms must be ruled out. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents started experiencing symptoms before the age of 19, but only 26% were formally diagnosed before they were an adult.
“No one took my symptoms seriously until I was in my 20’s,” says Migraine.com patient advocate Kerrie Smyres. “I have had chronic migraine since I was age 11, but was not diagnosed until I was 25. When I …