Migraine patients reported dissatisfaction with treatment options

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Migraine patients reported dissatisfaction with treatment options

According to a new survey, migraine patients have been reported to be dissatisfied with the treatments. Most of them had difficulty in diagnosis, especially when they were young and they often feel isolated and stigmatized due to this condition. The national survey, Migraine in America 2016, received responses from more than 3,900 people experiencing migraines.

Migraines are a genetic neurological disease, characterized by severe head pain often accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines are quite different from regular headaches. The survey reported that about 37 million people in the U.S. have migraines. As per World Health Organization, the condition affects 18% women and 7% men.

However, the exact underlying cause of migraine is unknown, but brain scan revealed that it can be related to hyperactivity in parts of the brain. The triggers of migraines vary widely among individuals. A 97% of survey participants reported that they had identified their migraine triggers, and 91% of those said they take special steps to avoid them. The most common triggers including weather or barometric pressure changes, certain smells, and bright lights are impossible to avoid.

Another area of concern was the difficulty of diagnosing migraines. While 61% of survey respondents said they started experiencing symptoms before the age of 19, only 26% were formally diagnosed before they were an adult. "No one took my symptoms seriously until I was in my 20's," said migraine.com patient advocate Kerrie Smyres. "I have had chronic migraine since I was age 11, but was not diagnosed until I was 25. When I was kid, most people thought I was making excuses to skip school. In all those years that my symptoms were dismissed, I internalized the stigma of migraine. I'm nearly 40 and, after three years of intense therapy, have finally stopped questioning if my symptoms were as severe as I believe them to be”.

Katie Golden, a migraine.com patient advocate, asks: "why are they dissatisfied with their treatment? I think there is always something new I can try, whether it is a balance of traditional and alternative treatments. I do my due diligence to learn about treatments before deciding, but I feel you can't be afraid to try or you'll be stuck where you are. Everyone deserves to have their pain alleviated." Smyres said, “The belief that migraine is just a bad headache is so prevalent that even the people we're closest to don't believe the extent of migraine's symptoms. Migraine attacks are often physically brutal; the lack of support people with migraine receive can be just as vicious emotionally." He added, "I really believe something like this survey can show the impact of migraines and help move beyond the stigma. It can be used by those of us with the condition to educate the people in our lives. You pass these results - third party results - on and it helps validate what we are saying."

Tim Armand, President and co-founder of Health Union, "The fact that there is a plethora of treatments, but individuals have so much difficulty finding effective ones illustrates the need for a site like Migraine.com. It is a place where people with migraines can come together to exchange ideas and learn from each other. "In addition, people find a sharing community helps with the social, emotional, and psychological aspects of the condition."

Health Union
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