What is Familial Hemiplegic Migraine?

Professor Lyn Griffiths, PhD, BSc Hons

Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) is a severe type of migraine that can be caused by a single gene. The symptoms can include vomiting, paralysis, and loss of consciousness.

Why is it difficult to discover the genes for migraine?

Professor Lyn Griffiths, PhD, BSc Hons

Migraine has many different subtypes and also changes through a person’s life, making diagnosis and identifying genetic causes difficult.

Why do researchers investigate the genetic background of migraine?

Professor Lyn Griffiths, PhD, BSc Hons

What symptoms other than headache are part of migraine?

Allan Purdy, MD

While headache is a major symptom of migraine for many living with the disease, numerous other symptoms can accompany it. Some of those symptoms can mimic other diseases and they can change considerably over time.

Why did my migraine attacks come back after stopping for so long?

Allan Purdy, MD

For those accustomed to having them frequently, it can be exhilarating to experience an extended time without a migraine attack. While enjoying that time, it may also be helpful to know they could return at some point, and to plan your migraine care and treatment accordingly.

Are brain imaging studies used to diagnose migraine?

Allan Purdy, MD

In many cases, neuroimaging of the brain, including tests such as CT scans or MRIs, is not necessary in adequately diagnosing migraine. However, sometimes it is used and can be an important part of the therapeutic process of diagnosis and establishment of subsequent treatment.

Do you have to see a doctor for migraine?

Allan Purdy, MD

Acceptance of a migraine diagnosis is important. Learning about the disease and how to most effectively manage it can then follow so you can live your best possible life. 

Can migraine attacks make you feel like you don’t even exist?

Allan Purdy, MD

Open and thorough patient and doctor communication is important in establishing an accurate diagnosis and management plan. It can even help identify rare or complex manifestations of migraine such as Cotard’s syndrome — a feeling that one does not exist — that might otherwise be mistaken for completely different neurological…

How much exercise is effective in controlling migraine?

Amaal J. Starling, MD, FAHS, FAAN

Exercise increases our endorphins, the natural painkillers in our brains, so by exercising we can help relieve migraine pain. We should exercise at least 20 minutes three times a week to have a consistent level of endorphins. Sometimes exertion can  trigger a migraine. To avoid that it’s best to warm…

How can we gain empowerment over our migraine headaches even if we sometimes break the rules of prevention?

Amaal J. Starling, MD, FAHS, FAAN

What if you go ahead and drink alcohol at a party and end up with a migraine attack the next day? You “broke one of the rules” of migraine prevention. But you can still feel empowered to recognize what happened, go ahead and take your acute medication, and know that…

How can a woman be proactive in managing hormonal migraine?

Susan Hutchinson, MD

Women need to be active participants in their health by educating themselves about hormone regimens, and making sure their health care providers work together to provide the most effective treatments.

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