Medical scientists used to think that the change in blood flow in the brain caused migraine. After more research, they found out that these changes can contribute, but not the main cause of it. Nowadays, most scientists think the main cause is overactive nerve cells sending out trigger signals to the trigeminal nerve, which sends out sensations to your head and face. Once this nerve is triggered, the body releases chemicals, one of them called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). This causes blood vessels in your brain to swell, which activates neurotransmitters to cause inflammation and pain – also known as migraine.
Triggers of Migraine
About 38 million Americans suffer from this neurological disease. There are a few risk factors that make it more likely to get them. Think of gender – a woman has migraine 3x more than a man. Often patients get their first migraine between 10 and 40 and get better after the age of 50. Family history and possibly other medical conditions, like depression, sleep disorders, and epilepsy are also big risk factors.
There are a few things that trigger migraines. Some you might want to skip if you suffer from migraines or are at risk to get them.
- Hormone changes
- Skipping meals
- (Big) weather changes
- Physical activity
- Change of sleep patterns
As you can see, there are several things you can control. These include not eating or drinking more products, avoiding loud noises, bright lights, and/or strong smells as much as possible, or quitting smoking. On some, such as hormone or weather changes, you can have little control and will have to learn to live with it. That’s why it’s important to recognize the warning signs, this way you can make sure you’re at a safe place when the symptoms hit you and start treating them immediately. Continue reading on the next page, and discover these warning signs.