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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > June 2018 > MIGRAINE


New ways to BEAT THE PAIN

Spot the more unusual signs of a migraine attack with our expert guide and learn about the very latest treatments to relieve your symptoms

SOME OF THE MORE COMMON MIGRAINE SYMPTOMS are all too horribly familiar: a severe headache preceded by an aura (flashing lights and visual disturbance), plus numbness and dizziness as well as vomiting and nausea.

One in 10 in the UK are affected – six million of us – and there are an estimated 190,000 attacks a day.

Women suffer the most, with one in five females experiencing migraines compared with one in 15 men. Attacks usually begin early in life, but diagnosis can be delayed until your 20s or even 30s. There are also migraine sufferers who have more unusual symptoms that don’t fit the classic pattern, and this is making the condition harder to diagnose in some people.

Migraine, but not as we

know it…

Migraine is commonly under-diagnosed for two main reasons. First, people mistakenly believe it always starts as a headache with an aura. That’s not so, says Professor Paul Booton, a GP specialising in migraine at the National Migraine Centre charity. ‘In fact, only a third of migraine sufferers experience aura and a small number don’t even experience a headache. The reality is a lot of people just put up with their symptoms, blaming them on a lack of sleep, stress, something they ate, a hangover or sleeping uncomfortably. The other problem is that GPs often get little training about treating migraines at medical school since, in a busy curriculum, learning about treating life-threatening conditions such as meningitis are given priority. ‘The bottom line is that if you have recurrent headaches severe enough to bring you to a doctor’s surgery, they are probably migraines,’ says Paul.

Lesser-known symptoms

Most of us consider a migraine to be a very bad headache (albeit a disabling, lie-down-in-a-dark-room one), so wouldn’t think a migraine could be headache free. Yet sufferers may have other symptoms instead, including abdominal pains, brain fog, pins and needles, sinus issues and, in exceptionally rare cases, temporary paralysis, that are often misdiagnosed as other conditions.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Shape up before your holiday without crash diets – we've got easy swaps that will shave 500 calories a day to get rid of that belly fat - plus delicious low-cal recipes. We also help you stay safe in the sun, offer updated expert advice on migraines and boosting fertility (for men as well as women). Plus lots of nutrition guidance, including which milks and berries to choose for best health benefits.