ST. LOUIS – June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about migraine and other headache diseases.
Migraines affect over 40 million people in the United States, a billion people worldwide, and is recognized as the second-largest global cause of years lived with disability. Currently, about 16 million people with migraines in the U.S. are undiagnosed. Approximately 400,000 Americans experience cluster headaches, recognized as one of the most painful diseases a person can have.
“The focus of the month of June is to increase or spread education and knowledge among patients and providers,” said Dr. Niranjan Singh, a neurologist at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital.
The doctor says the prevalence of migraines is much bigger than we realize. More than half of people who suffer severe migraines are undiagnosed and often people think migraine and headaches are the same.
“The migraine is a neurologic disorder. The patient will have a throbbing, pounding headache, sensitivity to light and sounds, may have an aura or disruptive sleep. Headache is a pain disorder,” he said.
Singh says some people who suffer from migraines do not have a headache.
For patients who suffer from migraines, he says, “it affects different parts of the brain. Although the headache is the most common symptom, but it can also happen without pain. I tell my patients migraines still part of your life.”
Singh says patients who suffer from migraines will often lose days in the month while the migraine occurs. Often the migraine makes the patient dysfunctional, fatigued, disruptive sleep, and mood swings that are intolerable.
He says migraines are most active when you are most active in your life.
“Women during childbearing years and men between ages 50-55,” he said.
However, Dr. Singh says migraines can impact anyone.
While migraines are not life-threatening, those who suffer do lose a quality of life. He says you should see a doctor if your headaches give you “a throbbing pounding headache, zig-zag lines in visual fields, sensitive to light and sounds, disruptive sleep.”
There are effective migraine medications that can help. He recommends to his patients that they get diagnosed so the proper medications can be given.
To learn more about the Migraines and Headaches, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.