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Can Chocolate cause Migraines? This & 5 more Myths

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BY DR. KHOOBSURAT NAJMA

Migraine can become a disabling health condition that may worsen a person’s quality of life. While some people think migraine is just a headache, others think it has no treatment.

But that is not true at all!

Here are 6 common misconceptions about migraine and the truth behind them :

MYTH 1 : Migraines are caused by Chocolate

FACT: The idea that migraines are caused by chocolate is a myth rather than a reality. Research recently presented at the International Headache Society suggests that cocoa found in chocolates may actually protect the nerve cells that cause migraine headaches. Many people with migraines have increased appetite and food cravings just before their headaches start. Reaching for a chocolate bar may be the result of a migraine, rather than the cause.

There are however a small percentage of people who react to amines found in chocolate and are not able to process them, thereby triggering migraine. But this too is merely a trigger and not a cause of migraine.

MYTH 2 : Migraines are just Bad Headaches

FACT: Migraines are not just bad headaches. Migraine is a neurological condition with a wide range of symptoms including headache. Migraine sufferers may experience visual disturbance such as flashing lights or blind spots, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, noise and smells, pins and needles, weakness or numbness in the limbs. Headaches can be severe and are often localized to one side of the head.

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People are also reading :

Common Symptoms of Migraine

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MYTH 3 : Only Women get Migraines

FACT: Migraine is not a disease of only women. Under the age of 12, an equal number of boys and girls have migraines. After the onset of puberty though, women get them more frequently than men (3:1). In fact the reason why women are more prone is estrogen and progesterone, which play a significant role in the disorder, according to studies.

MYTH 4 : Migraines can’t be Treated

FACT: This is not true. Currently, migraine treatment comprises of: Preventative treatment (stopping attacks from happening), Acute treatment (treating an attack as soon as it happens) and Rescue treatment (dealing with an attack if acute treatment does not work).

Depending on the severity of your migraine, your doctor will suggest a treatment plan. Therefore, it becomes very important to consult a specialist so that you are able to prevent and manage an attack. Treatment has shown to dramatically improve the quality of life of patients with frequent episodes of migraine.

MYTH 5 : Migraines are not life threatening, so I don’t have to worry about them 

FACT: Even if by itself a migraine attack may not be life threatening, the complications associated with it may be. Research has established strong links between migraines with heart disease and stroke. Evidence has also shown a definite link between depressions, suicide and migraine.

MYTH 6 :  Nothing can be done to Prevent Migraines

FACT: What triggers migraines is unique for each person, so taking note of what sets yours off is the first step to managing the condition. Obviously, avoiding triggers will help, but some lifestyle factors may also prevent attacks. Try to get enough moderate exercise, avoid temperature extremes, take time to de-stress, eat small frequent (5-6)  meals through the day and sleep on time for 6-7 hours.

So, if you or anyone in your family suffers from a bad headache on a regular basis, consult a doctor. Stay informed, Stay Healthy!

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