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Migraine Headache

Migraine Headache Overview

Migraine headaches are one of the most common problems seen in emergency departments and doctors' offices. Migraines are due to changes in the brain and surrounding blood vessels.

Migraine headaches typically last from 4 to 72 hours and vary in frequency from daily to fewer than one per year. According to the National Headache Foundation, more than 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraine, and it affects three times as many women as men. About 70% to 80% of people with migraines (called migraineurs) have other members in the family who have them too.

  • Different types of migraine headaches:
    • Common migraine accounts for 80% of migraines. There is no "aura" before a common migraine.
    • People with classic migraines experience an aura before their headaches. Most often, an aura is a visual disturbance (outlines of lights or jagged light images). Classic migraines are usually much more severe than common migraines.
    • Status migrainosus is a migraine attack that lasts more than 72 hours.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/1/2013

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Migraines are severe, throbbing headaches frequently located in the temples or frontal head regions.

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