June is recognized as National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month (MHAM), with June 29th focused on those who suffer from chronic migraines. It is designed to bring awareness and support to those often suffering in silence. Migraines are the third most common disease in the world, but despite it being the most disabling lifetime condition, it is often the least understood.
National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month states that migraine headaches affect approximately forty million people in the United States and one billion people worldwide. Migraines are primarily a headache disorder of the nervous system. Symptoms include moderate to severe head pain intensity, most likely accompanied by nausea, and light sensitivity that can last for hours or days.
Migraine headaches are often under-recognized, under-funded, and under-treated throughout the world. Most people do not realize how incapacitating a migraine can be. Migraine attacks are the world’s second-largest contributor to years of disability. The Migraine Research Foundation shows that 90% of suffers are unable to work or function normally during a migraine episode. Unfortunately, some people are more prone to migraines. Risk factors can include:
- Sex – Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines.
- Hormonal Changes – For women migraine sufferers, headaches can start and/or change during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Family History – If migraines run in your family, chances are you will be prone to them as well.
- Age – Migraines can start at any age, but gradually become less severe and frequent with age.
While there is no cure for chronic migraine attacks, new treatments and therapies are designed to help manage the disease and promote a better quality of life. For a complete list of online communities and support groups, visit migraineheadacheawarenessmonth.org.
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