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Migraine Headaches, Vision Effects (cont.)

Exams and Tests

Laboratory studies

In older persons, the doctor may order specific laboratory studies in order to rule out physical causes like giant cell arteritis (an inflammation or infection involving certain arteries in the head and neck), brain tumor, meningitis, or brain hemorrhage. Other causes should be ruled out using appropriate laboratory and/or radiographic (x-ray) tests.

Migraine headache is a diagnosis of exclusion, and doctors will be more concerned forpeople who have headaches on only one side of the head.

Imaging studies

A CT scan (computed tomography scan) of the head may be done to rule out head trauma, brain tumor, bleeding, or blockages as causes.

An MRI/MRA (magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiogram) of the head may be done to help rule out tumors or problems with the blood vessels.

Other tests

Visual-field testing should be done for those who have lasting visual problems.

Diagnostic procedures

A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) may be done to rule out infection, inflammation, elevated pressure in the head, or bleeding in the membranes covering the brain. When appropriate, the doctor may look inside arteries of the head and neck with a tiny camera, a procedure called endoscopy.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Migraine Variants »

Migraine is a paroxysmal headache disorder affecting more than 13% of the general population in the United States.

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