Migraine: Stats, 10 Causes & Treatment

The pain of a migraine headache is often described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head. However, it is much more; the International Headache Society diagnoses a migraine by its pain and number of attacks (at least 5, lasting 4-72 hours if untreated), and additional symptoms including nausea and/or vomiting, or sensitivity to both light and sound. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men and affects more than 10 percent of people worldwide1 . This post “Migraine: Stats, 10 Causes & Treatment” seeks to provide helpful information about this disease.

Roughly one-third of affected individuals can predict the onset of a migraine because it is preceded by an “aura,” visual disturbances that appear as flashing lights, zig-zag lines or a temporary loss of vision. People with migraines tend to have recurring attacks triggered by a number of different factors, including stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, bright or flashing lights, lack of food or sleep, and dietary substances.  Migraine in some women may relate to changes in hormones and hormonal levels during their menstrual cycle.  For many years, scientists believed that migraines were linked to the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the head. Investigators now believe that migraine has a genetic cause.

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A migraine is a type of headache. It may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound. In many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of the head.

Migraine is an extraordinarily prevalent neurological disease, affecting 39 million men, women, and children in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide2 .

Everyone either knows someone who suffers from migraine or struggles with migraines themselves.

  • Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraines.Migraine: Stats, 10 Causes & Treatment
  • Amazingly, 12% of the population – including children – suffers from migraines.
  • 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children experience migraines.
  • Migraine is most common between the ages of 18 and 44.
  • Migraine tends to run in families. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.

Most people don’t realize how serious and incapacitating migraines can be. 

  • Migraine is the 6th most disabling illness in the world.
  • Every 10 seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room complaining of head pain, and approximately 1.2 million visits are for acute migraine attacks.
  • While most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, more than 4 million people have a  chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.


A migraine headache is caused by abnormal brain activity. This activity can be triggered by many things. But the exact chain of events remains unclear. Most medical experts believe the attack begins in the brain and involves nerve pathways and chemicals. The changes affect blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues.

A migraine is a type of headache. It may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound. In many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of the head.

Migraine headaches tend to first appear between the ages of 10 and 45. Sometimes, they begin earlier or later. Migraines may run in families. Migraines occur more often in women than in men. Some women, but not all, have fewer migraines when they are pregnant.

Migraine attacks may be triggered by any of the following:

  1. Caffeine withdrawal
  2. Migraine: Stats, 10 Causes & TreatmentChanges in hormone levels during a woman’s menstrual cycle or with the use of birth control pills
  3. Changes in sleep patterns, such as not getting enough sleep
  4. Drinking alcohol
  5. Exercise or other physical stress
  6. Loud noises or bright lights
  7. Missed meals
  8. Odors or perfumes
  9. Smoking or exposure to smoke
  10. Stress and anxiety

Migraines can also be triggered by certain foods. Most common are:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Dairy foods, especially certain cheeses
  3. Foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  4. Foods with tyramine, which includes red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and certain beans
  5. Fruits (avocado, banana, citrus fruit)
  6. Meats containing nitrates (bacon, hot dogs, salami, cured meats)
  7. Onions
  8. Peanuts and other nuts and seeds
  9. Processed, fermented, pickled, or marinated foods

True migraine headaches are not a result of a brain tumor or other serious medical problems. Only a health care provider who specializes in headaches can determine if your symptoms are due to a migraine or other conditions.


Responsive prevention and treatment of migraine is incredibly important.  Evidence shows an increased sensitivity after each successive attack, eventually leading to chronic daily migraines in some individuals  With the proper combination of drugs for prevention and treatment of migraine attacks most individuals can overcome much of the discomfort from this debilitating disorder.  Women whose migraine attacks occur in association with their menstrual cycle are likely to have fewer attacks and milder symptoms after menopause.


There is no absolute cure for migraines since its pathophysiology has yet to be fully understood.  There are two ways to approach the treatment of migraine headache with drugs: prevent the attacks or relieve the symptoms during the attacks. Prevention involves the use of medications and behavioral changes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved erenu

Migraine: Stats, 10 Causes & Treatmentmab (Aimovig) to prevent migraines in adults. The drug works by blocking the activity of calcitonin gene-related peptide, a molecule that is involved in migraine attacks. The FDA also has approved lasmiditan (Reyvow) for short-term treatment of migraines with our without aura. The FDA also has approved ubrogepant tablets (Ubrelvy) for immediate treatment of migraine with or without aura.

Drugs originally developed for epilepsy, depression, or high blood pressure to prevent future attacks have been shown to be extremely effective in treating migraines. Botulinum toxin A has been shown to be effective in the prevention of chronic migraine.  Behaviorally, stress management strategies, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, biofeedback mechanisms, and other therapies designed to limit daily discomfort, may reduce the number and severity of migraine attacks.  Making a log of personal triggers of migraine can also provide useful information for trigger-avoiding lifestyle changes, including dietary considerations, eating regularly scheduled meals with adequate hydration, stopping certain medications, and establishing a consistent sleep schedule. Hormone therapy may help some women whose migraines seem to be linked to their menstrual cycle. A weight loss program is recommended for obese individuals with migraine.

Relief of symptoms, or acute treatments, during attacks consists of sumatriptan, ergotamine drugs, and analgesics such as ibuprofen and aspirin.  The sooner these treatments are administered, the more effective they are.

Migraine: Stats, 10 Causes & Treatment

Jay Harold hopes you enjoyed this post, “Migraine: Stats, 10 Causes & Treatment” seeks to provide helpful information. Please share this post and read more about Jay Harold here.  Please take this advice from  Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”


  1. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Migraine-Information-Page
  2. https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000709.htm


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