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Migraines Causes 

Those suffering from migraine headaches realize how pain can affect their daily lives and sometimes incapacitate them, but what some sufferers do not realize is that there are signs to watch for and risk factors to know that can predispose a person to experiencing migraines.  Much research has been done, and doctors have concluded that there are several risk factors regarding migraines.  A risk factor is something that can increase the likelihood that you will get a disease or suffer from a condition.  The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to suffer from the stated disease or condition.  Known risk factors for migraines include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Medications-The use of certain medications can actually cause a migraine to occur.  These medications include headache remedies used on a daily basis, hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills and drugs that are used to dilate the blood vessels.
  • Lifestyle factors-These are factors that you have the ability to change.  Some factors that put you at risk of suffering a migraine are stress, lack of sleep, excessive exercise, skipping meals, consumption of alcohol and consuming foods with a high level of monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG.
  • Gender-Females suffer more often from migraines than do males.  There is believed to a link between female hormones and the incidence of migraines.
  • Age-The majority of migraine sufferers are considered young.
  • Genetic Factors-An inherited problem in blood vessel regulation has led many to believe that migraines are caused from a problem with a persons DNA.  Thus, migraines tend to run in families.
  • Other-There are other factors that can trigger a migraine, as well as put you at risk for experiencing one.  Some of these factors are glaring lights, perfumes or other very strong scents, fatigue, menstruation and changes in weather, altitude or time zone.

The causes of migraine headaches are still being investigated, and physicians are still learning about the signs and symptoms that accompany migraines.  Until recently, those in the medical community believed that migraines were caused by abnormal blood vessels in the head.  However, recent research has shown that the cause of migraines may be due to a central nervous disorder.  The trigeminal pathway, which is a nerve pathway that stretches from the brain stem to the head and face, experiences nerve cell changes which in turn release certain chemicals that dilate blood vessels and result in a migraine. Researchers have also uncovered numerous other factors that may play a part on causing migraines. 

These include:

  • Magnesium levels-When magnesium levels are reduces, this causes nerves within the brain to misfire, which can result in visual changes and a migraine.
  • Hypotension-Some recent studies have suggested that a sudden drop in blood pressure may be the cause of migraines.
  • Female hormones-Estrogen and progesterone are known to play a role in migraines.  It is not the presence of these hormones, but rather the fluctuation of their levels that may contribute to experiencing a migraine.

When over excitation of the nerves occurs, conditions in the brain are altered and a migraine can result.  There are known triggers that can cause migraines, and these include the following:

  • Abrupt weather changes
  • Bright, flickering or glaring lights
  • Intense physical exertion
  • Emotional stress
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • High altitude
  • Motion caused by travel
  • Low blood sugar

There are also over 100 foods that contain certain chemicals that are known to be migraine triggers.  These chemical triggers are tannin, sulfites, monosodium glutamate, tyramine and phenylethylamine.  Foods containing these chemicals include:

  • Chocolate
  • Dried fruits
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Apple juice
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Cheese
  • Processed meat
  • Peas
  • Sauerkraut
  • Chinese food prepared in restaurants

If you suffer from migraines, it is important to know what can cause one to occur.  Being armed with this knowledge will allow you to more effectively manage your migraines, and is vital in order to help you prevent them from happening.  There are many steps you can take to lower the possibility of suffering from migraines, and while you do not have the ability to control such factors as age and genetics, simple lifestyle changes may just be a worthwhile thing to consider.

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VISITOR COMMENTS on "Causes of Migraines":

apu said,
1st December 06
a very crisp and clear article. thank you

zette said,
15th February 07
thanx. this article helps me a lot.

Eye Ora Guy said,
16th February 07
Nice job. Very clear. Helps me alot

dardar said,
16th February 07
Along with the migraine I also experience dizziness, blackouts,dry heaves, numbness and tingly feelings in my arms and fingers. I miss 3 days of work a month because I am so sick from mu migraines. I am currently taking Topamax and Relpax and have tried countless other meds with no relief. I have had migraines all my life and I am 36 years old now. I have head ache almost every day. What a Life! Any suggestions out there? email me darj94@yahoo.com

nisha said,
27th February 07
very well defined article it will help me alot in finding the causes of migraine. Thank you

kristen said,
7th April 07
Thanks. I have one right now, and I'm just trying to figure out how the hell to get rid of it!

pinky said,
2nd May 07
im a teen that get them at least four or five time in a week or in a day they usually make me tired and craby and before i get one i get sleepy and i get fussy usually if i go take a nap they go away but thanks because now i know why i get them so often

Navu said,
4th May 07
Dardar, i suffer from Migraines but i have to able to reduce attacks by 10-fold. My solution: reduce stress by exercising regularly, taking Calcium(4):Magnesium(1) combination. Hope this will help.

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