Migraines: Fast Facts

  • Women have migraines three times more often than men, according to the National Headache Foundation (NHF).
  • A migraine is a severe, debilitating form of headache that typically appears as a throbbing ache near the side of the forehead.
  • After tension headaches, migraines are the second most common kind of headache.
  • Migraines differ from other types of headaches because they often are more severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms.
  • Migraines are typically felt on only one side of the head.
  • They can last from four hours to more than three days.
  • This kind of headache is usually chronic, occurring repeatedly throughout one's lifetime.
  • Migraines are considered a type of vascular headache because, in addition to nerves and chemicals, they involve the blood vessels in the brain. Migraines are most likely caused by an abnormal trigger of chemicals that cause these blood vessels to swell.
  • Migraines occur most often between ages 15 and 55.
  • More than 29.5 million Americans experience migraines.
  • You are much more likely to have migraines if migraine sufferers are in your immediate family. According to the NHF, 70 to 80 percent of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines.
  • An aura is a cluster of warning symptoms that may appear before the headache occurs. These may include visual disturbances such as sensitivity to light, tunnel vision and eye pain. The aura may develop 20 minutes to an hour before a migraine.

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