What are Migraines?
Migraines are a specific type of headache that affects over 10% of the world’s population. These headaches recur, causing moderate to severe pain. They are thought to be caused by a genetic predisposition along with environmental factors that act as triggers. These triggers cause changes (either spasm or dilatation) in the diameter of the arteries leading to the brain. Triggers can include things like:
- Hormones or drop in hormone levels (e.g., before a woman’s menstrual cycle)
- Loud noises
- Bright or flashing lights
- Stress or anxiety
- Sudden changes in the weather or environment
- Food additives
- Strong smells
- Caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
Migraines can affect anyone, but women are about three times more likely to get migraines than men. In addition, people who have family members with a history of migraines are more likely to experience them.