Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Managing adrenaline key to migraines
…Mary Beth Fuller writes about migraines in the Arizona Republic, March 26, 2008.
…Three times more women than men suffer from these debilitating headaches. The pain may settle on one side or behind one eye. The sufferer may need to shut out all light and may be nauseated or even vomit.
…Only about 15% of sufferers get a warning “aura” (flashes or weird shimmers).
…Attacks last from hours to days, in three phases: pre-headache, headache, and post
….You can manage these through lifestyle changes, says Seymour Diamond, co-founder of the National Headache Foundation.
…”It’s not a bad hair day,” one doc said, “it’s a genetic disorder.”
…People suffer for years before trying a doctor for these. The key is to get treatment as soon as possible (even as a child!).
…Treatment can be trial and error. Just giving pain medication is like giving a cookie to a diabetic—a 30-min fix, one doctor said. Taking pain meds can make the headaches worse over time. Imitrex is effective when the headache gets a hold on you, but it can have side effects.
…Carol Foster, MD, a migraine specialist and author of Gotta Headache? Lifestyle Changes to Help You Conquer Migraine, asks patients to commit to lifestyle changes, according to Fuller’s story. Patients must do a food diary and avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, nuts, aged cheeses, artificial sweeteners, cured meats, some fruits, and most food additives. Those foods stimulate adrenaline.
…Migraines, Foster says, are an imbalance between serotonin (the feel good stuff) and adrenaline (the run away or fight stuff).
…Once the patient is down to four attacks or fewer per month, some foods can be introduced to see if they are triggers for that person.
…You also need to incorporate down-time into every day. And drink TONS of water! Dehydration can be a trigger for many people. Repetitive rhythms like walking boost serotonin, so this is recommended.
…It’s not normal to have a headache, as Foster said. But do see a doctor. Would you settle for the word of an ass? Even a Health’s Ass?