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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Migraine

Description:The most common type of vascular headache, migraines are characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and at times disturbed vision.

Symptoms: The two most prevalent types of migraine-caused headache are known as "classic" and "common." The major difference is the appearance of visual, neurological symptoms called an aura -- flashing lights or zigzag lines, or a temporary loss of vision -- ten to thirty minutes before the onset of a classic migraine, as well as speech difficulty, weakness of an arm or leg, tingling of the face or hands, and confusion. A classic migraine starts on one side of the head and may spread to the other side. Intense, throbbing, or pounding pain is felt in the forehead, temple, ear, jaw, or around the eye. Common migraine -- a term that reflects the disorder's greater occurrence in the general population -- is not preceded by an aura, but entails mental fuzziness, mood changes, fatigue, an unusual retention of fluids, diarrhea and increased urination, as well as nausea and vomiting.

Long-term problems/treatments: A classic migraine attack lasts one to two pain-wracked days. Common migraine pain can last three or four days. Both classic and common migraine can strike as often as several times a week, or as rarely as once every few years. Both types can occur at any time. Some people, however, experience migraines at predictable times-near the days of menstruation or every Saturday morning after a stressful week of work.
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