Suffering from migraine? 5 ways it impacts your body and life

If you suffer from frequent headaches, do not pass it off easily as it could be a sign of migraine and can impact your life adversely. 
migraine effects on body
Migraine awareness is important to recognize its symptoms and effects. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sumit Singh Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 13:05 pm IST
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Migraine is a word we may have heard often, but we tend to think of it as nothing more than a severe headache. However, people living with migraine are the ones who know the best that migraine attacks are much more than just mere headaches. In fact, in India, women are affected 2-4 times more by migraine-which can also be chronic-than men.

What exactly is a migraine?

It is a neurological condition that can have far-reaching consequences on all areas of one’s life. While commonly characterized by a pulsing or throbbing pain on one side of the head, migraine is accompanied by debilitating symptoms like sensitivity to sound and light, nausea, vomiting and discomfort.

Take headache seriously. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How can migraine impact one’s life?

Migraine attacks are often triggered by hormonal fluctuations, alcohol, caffeine, certain foods, stress, and inconsistent sleep among other things. Despite its adverse effects, there is a lack of awareness, which further leads to misdiagnosis and insufficient treatment. In fact, if proper treatment is adhered to along with making modifications to lifestyle, it allows the required flexibility and preparedness to deal with a migraine attack. Migraine can be both chronic or episodic. Either way, it has a detrimental effect on one’s life.

Also, read: Be careful, your headache could be a migraine!

So here are 5 common migraine effects:

1. Impacts one’s presence, productivity, and potential at work

People suffering from migraine are usually unable to work or function properly during an attack and those who are physically present might not be productive at all. In certain industries, a migraine attack can mean missing out on income, as people suffering from attacks have to skip work frequently.

2. Takes a toll on mental health

Migraine is linked to both depression and anxiety. People with migraine are five times more likely to develop depression than individuals who do not suffer from it. Symptoms such as anxiety, stress and fear can play off of migraine symptoms. As patients think about the next attack, it leads to helplessness, and the unpredictability of their symptoms can eventually lead to frustration. All these issues take an overall toll on the quality of life.

everyday health issues
Chronic migraine can be tackled with the help of certain measures. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Can lead to temporary vision loss

Migraine attacks can also cause blindness in one eye for a short period. Such type of migraine is called an ocular migraine, and it happens due to reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. Though it’s rare, people who have an ocular migraine may have a higher risk of permanent vision loss in one eye.

4. Increases risk of heart diseases

As per American Migraine Foundation (AMF), migraine affects heart health and increases the risk of heart attacks and heart rhythm disorders. It can also increase the risk of stroke, coronary events, and other related death by almost 50 percent.

5. Affects one’s family, social and personal life

Misunderstandings, cancelled plans and care-giving demands on partners can cause a relationship strain. It’s hard to be reliable when a migraine attack can wreck plans at any moment. This, in turn, takes a toll on relationships.

What should be done in case of a migraine?

People with migraine need to understand their headache triggers, and learn how to control their condition at the right time. Additionally, the importance of listening to your body cannot be overstated. Patients must know that it is important to consult a neurologist, undertake accurate treatment and adhere to proper treatment procedures in order to lead a happy and healthy life.

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About the Author

Dr Sumit Singh Director Neurology- Headache and Neuromuscular Disorders, Agrim Institute of Neurosciences, Gurugram
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