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2 Signs You're Having A Migraine   
 
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19-Feb-2014  
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Nearly 30 million people in the United States have migraines, and three times as many women as men have them.

Migraines are pulsating headaches, often on one side of the head. Physical activity may intensify the pain, but symptoms can vary from person to person and from one attack to the next.

"In patients who have migraines, we're going to treat all of their headaches as potential migraines," says Anne Calhoun, MD, partner and cofounder of the Carolina Headache Institute, in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Here are 2 ways to identify migraines.

Aura
Some people with a migraine experience aura.

The most common auras are visual, such as flickering lights, spots, or lines. "You may see a little jagged line...that will develop some cross hatches, and it might sort of move in a curved direction," Dr. Calhoun says.

Auras typically last between five minutes and an hour, with a 60-minute "skip phase" before the headache pain sets in, she says.

Some patients have auras without a migraine-type headache or any headache at all.

Depression, irritability, or excitement
Mood changes can be a sign of migraines.

"Some patients will feel very depressed or suddenly down for no reason," Dr. Calhoun says. "Others will feel very high." Dutch researchers recently reported a possible genetic link between depression and migraines, especially migraines with aura.

Data presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2010 annual meeting suggests that moderate or severe depression increases the risk of episodic migraines becoming chronic.
 
 
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