Migraine headaches alone can be painful, but another concern is that migraines can put the sufferer at risk for other serious conditions in the body. You can see how it is very important to find ways to prevent and control your headaches to improve your overall health.
Complications can come from both the experience of migraines and the treatment of migraines. Your doctor should examine you for the conditions listed here if you present for severe migraines and/or are being treated for migraines.
Complications related to migraine experience
Reynaud's disease – This is a debilitating condition of the hands and feet caused by the narrowing of blood vessels. This results in the discoloration of fingers and toes, along with painful movement.
Chronic fatigue syndrome – This condition is closely related to fibromyalgia with symptoms that lead to severe loss of energy. Treatment is done to relieve the various symptoms that you present with to your doctor.
High blood pressure – High blood pressure results when vessels are narrowed, for whatever reason, and the heart needs to pump harder to move the same volume of blood. High blood pressure can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Asthma – This is a condition that results in inflammation and constriction of the the bronchial tubes. Asthma and migraine headaches share common inflammatory elements in the body that are released during either type of attack. There are neurotransmitters that are common to both conditions, leading a sufferer of either to be susceptible to both.
Sleep problems – Insomniac or sleepwalking (somnambulism) may be a result of the same depletion of neurotransmitters that cause migraine headaches. Migraines and insomnia result from a similar loss of serotonin and noradrenaline, neurotransmitters needed to maintain health. A sleep study may help determine just how you are sleeping and suggest a course of treatment.
There are also complications that can be a direct result of treating your migraines. If you are experiencing migraines now, consult your doctor before you try any treatments. Also, be sure to give your doctor a detailed medical history which includes any medications, even natural or herbal, you are already taking. Discuss the complications listed here with your doctor.
Complications related to migraine treatment
Rebound headaches – Medications for migraines are meant to be taken to alleviate the pain at the first sign of migraine. When you take them too often it can lead to more headaches as a result. Ask your doctor to evaluate if you need a lower dose or a more powerful medication that is used less frequently.
Abdominal problems – Over the counter medications are tempting to try when you have a migraine. After all, they are easy to get and the last thing you want is to endure that pain for longer than you have to. Taking too many pain relievers at too high a dosage can lead to abdominal problems. Chronic use of aspirin in particular, as well as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can lead to bowel problems and stomach ulcers. These conditions are also evidence that you need a prescription medication, because the over-the-counter medications you are currently taking are not doing the trick.
Serotonin syndrome – This is a rare condition but still one to watch for. Certain migraine medications can interact with anti-depressive medications that affect serotonin levels. Drug interactions are serious and can lead to death. If you are currently taking an anti-depressant, let your doctor know immediately. And, don't forget to tell your doctor of any natural or herbal solutions you are trying, including those that are purported to lift your mood or help you sleep.
Migraines can affect other systems in your body besides your head. Having a detailed physical exam can help your doctor determine the risk for any of these ailments associated with migraines. Treating the entire body is the right way to diagnose and treat migraines.