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Migraines and Headaches

Migraines and Headaches

Are migraines and headaches the same thing? The short answer is no. Migraines tend to be more agonizing and even incapacitating. They can also trigger other unfavorable symptoms. Here are some tips that help explain how to deal with, and avoid, migraines.

Headaches vs. Migraines

A migraine is considered to be a more severe version of a headache. Migraines are usually defined by a pounding pain, whereas a headache tends to more of a dull ache. Migraines regularly occur just behind the eyes or are focused on one side of the head. Some symptoms that normally accompany a migraine can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Affected sense of touch or smell
  • Flashing lights
  • Numbness

Some or all of these symptoms will most likely occur just before and/or during a migraine.

Migraines in Seniors

Young woman rubs the temple area of her head as she winces her face in pain from a migraine headache.

People commonly experience an initial migraine before the age of 40 if the individual is prone to them. Migraines tend to become less intense as we get older. Therefore, if you are experiencing migraines as senior it is crucial to contact your doctor or a healthcare professional immediately. Of individuals that have experienced migraines since an early age, just less than half of those people no longer get migraines after the age of 65.

Whether you have a previous history of migraines or not, if you experience a migraine after the age of 65 it is a good idea to see a health care professional. Experiencing a migraine as a senior can be an indication of other hidden health issues, and could even be the sign of a silent brain injury or stroke. A silent stroke is when blood flow to the brain is blocked, most often by a blood clot. Silent strokes often occur without any other apparent symptoms, so it is important to get any migraine checked out.

Treatment and Prevention

In the case of migraines, prevention is the best form of treatment. How do you prevent migraines? Here are a few things to avoid as much as possible:

  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Caffeine
  • Stress
  • Certain foods
  • Strong odours

Migraine triggers are not the same for everyone, so it is important to pay attention to commonalities leading to your migraines.

Once a senior has experienced a migraine it is crucial to get rest in an unlit area, and plenty of fluids. Steer clear of any type of alarming stimuli like TV or computer screens, bright lights, and loud noises. If the symptoms persist, make a visit to the doctor or the emergency room in more serious cases. Consult your physician about possible medications used to treat migraines.

At Retire-At-Home Toronto our caregivers are here to provide full support for migraine sufferers. We can assist with identifying, preventing, and treating migraines. Please contact our office for more information.

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