Migraine is often confused with a common headache, but its impact on patients’ daily lives is very significant. “The fear that, at any time, pain will strike prevents us from living normally,” admits Inês Carvalhão, who has suffered from migraines since childhood, but was only diagnosed at the age of 45.
Like Inês, about 40% of people who suffer from this pathology have no medical follow-up, according to a study carried out by MiGRA – Portuguese Association of Patients with Migraines and Headaches. This happens, as he explains to DN Filipe Palavra, because people devalue the situation or because they try to solve the problem with inappropriate drugs. “It is essential that everyone sees a doctor to be able to establish a correct diagnosis and an adequate treatment”, warns the neurologist from the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, who will be present at the talk “Viver com Migraine”, an initiative of Diário de Notícias, with the support of Pfizer. The conversation, which will take place on November 21 at 5 p.m., will also be attended by Inês Carvalhão, patient and member of the governing bodies of MiGRA Portugal.
The objective of this initiative is to raise public awareness of a chronic neurological disease, extremely debilitating, but largely devalued by society. Incidentally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), migraine is the main cause of disability in people under 50, affects about 12% of the world’s population and about one and a half million people in Portugal. .
Distinguishing this disease from the common headache and talking about the signs and symptoms everyone should be aware of, to ensure a diagnosis as soon as possible, will be the starting point for this conversation, which you can watch on the Diário de New.
Knowing the triggers helps to avoid flare-ups.
Although it can appear at any time of life, migraine is often a disease that accompanies people from an early age and can appear more frequently in patients who already have other family members with the same problem. . However, as Filipe Palavra explains, the disease evolves throughout life and can become more or less intense over the years. The neurologist also reveals that the prevalence is higher in women, in particular due to the greater hormonal fluctuations they suffer from.
Symptoms can also vary from person to person, but in common there is always a severe headache that usually only affects one side of the skull. In addition, many patients experience sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, and sharper pain with body or head movement. “But there may be other associated symptoms”, underlines Filipe Palavra, who reinforces the importance of being attentive to the moments when the pain appears, in order to look for the triggers that trigger it. “It could be a drink, a food, not eating for a long time, in other words, any situation,” adds Inês Carvalhão, who recommends those who suffer from migraines to take note of the frequency of occurrence. pain, how long it takes to be successful, and all the details that can help determine those triggers. Thus, he says, “it will be easier to prevent crises”.
However, and because it is a chronic condition, there is no cure for migraine. “But there is a treatment”, underlines Filipe Palavra. The neurologist calls on anyone who has frequent headaches, and especially if they identify with some of the symptoms mentioned, to go to their family doctor and, above all, not to self-medicate. “Taking medications not indicated for migraine can worsen the disease and make attacks more frequent,” he explains. The doctor also recommends to them “not to suffer in silence because the treatment exists and makes it possible to control the disease and its crises”.
To learn more about migraines and their consequences, watch the doctor-patient conversation live, next Monday, November 21, on the Diario de Notícias🇧🇷