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Migraine

Categorized as a spectrum disease, ranging in frequency, severity and duration. Some people with migraine disease may experience as few as 1-2 attacks a year while others have 15 or more migraine days per month.

What is migraine disease?


Historically, migraine disease has been neglected. It was portrayed as “migraines,” sporadic headaches that could be treated with over the counter medicine and rest. As anyone who has ever experienced migraine disease knows, it is much worse.

Migraine can be categorized as a spectrum disease, ranging in frequency, severity and duration. Some people with migraine disease may experience as few as 1-2 attacks a year while others have 15 or more migraine days per month.

Debilitating pain, visual distortions, light and sound sensitivity, intense nausea, and vertigo are just some of the expected symptoms of a migraine attack. Migraine disease is a chronic, debilitating, and under reported neurological condition.

Who is affected?

Migraine affects 39 million people nationwide and 1 billion globally. It is the second leading cause of global disability and the second leading cause of global neurological burden.

Migraine affects our servicemembers and veterans as well. 36% of servicemembers deployed to Iraq for a year or more experience migraine while veterans with traumatic brain injury are more likely to have chronic migraine. There has been a 27% increase in migraine diagnosis across the Armed Forces from 2001 to 2007.1

How is it treated?

Currently, there is no cure for migraine disease. There are only treatments designed to stop or improve the headache symptoms. Some of these can be taken preventatively depending on how frequent your symptoms are. Others can be taken during a migraine attack to improve symptoms, and vary from over the counter medications, prescription abortives, to those you receive through an IV in an emergency.

None of these treatments are perfect fixes, and may not work for everyone. It is common to need to try a few treatments before finding one that might work for you.

What does the future look like for those with migraine disease?

There is currently research into finding better and more targeted treatment options. Unfortunately, due to the lack of public understanding about migraine disease, it is likely that these treatments will face major access barriers once they get to the market.

We need to be prepared, informed, and ready to inform others of the importance of adequate migraine disorder treatment.

WHAT TO SAY
Your talking points

If you live with migraine disease, you know exactly how you are impacted. You know that it is more than just a headache- and that it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is important to communicate this to those in your life so that they understand what you mean when you say you are experiencing a migraine.

For more education and resources on how to explain your condition to others, go here: https://headachemigraine.org/migraine-disease-information/

As with any chronic disease, when new medications are developed, they are often expensive and met with hesitancy from insurers to pay for them. There will be a need for those who live with migraine disease to communicate their experiences and need for new treatment options to lawmakers and regulators. By sharing their personal stories, patients are best at properly conveying the need for safe and effective treatment options.

 
 

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