Headache diary helps doctors find causes of pesky migraine

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Picture used for illustrative purpose.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Even as sufferers of the pesky form of headache called migraine are now assured of normal productive lives by way of natural, acute and preventive therapies, neurologists in the UAE have called for more awareness campaigns on this chronic condition, which may be hereditary.

“It is a reality now that we could treat and prevent migraine. The basics and the secret are for us to choose the stress-free lifestyle. We must also sleep and eat on time,” said HealthHub-Al Futtaim Neurology specialist Dr. Rajarathinam Ayyanar.

“If someone has headaches, it is important to seek evaluation by a medical professional. After being evaluated and examined and it turns out that the person has migraine, it becomes very important to look at the triggers and exacerbating factors that can make these headaches worse.

Having and making a Headache Diary is one of the most important tools that a person with headaches can have and show their physicians at the time of the first consultation. Not all people with migraines have the same triggers; that is why a Headache Diary is very important,” said Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City Neurology consultant Dr. Ahmed Shatila.

He added that in case the natural preventive measures remain insufficient, “consistent consultations with healthcare professionals” as well as drugs “could also add value in their headache management.”

“It is important to keep working towards increasing migraine awareness and encouraging early referral to improve patient outcomes in the UAE,” said United Arab Emirates University-College of Medicine and Health Science-Internal Medicine Department assistant professor/Tawam Hospital (Al Ain) Neurology consultant Dr. Mohammed Al Kuwaiti.

He said migraine management is continually improving by way of oral and injectable “targeted medications.” He supported Shatila’s view that whenever headache, which may be a migraine strikes again, the most practical thing to do is set a medical appointment or just walk-in.

Emirates Neurology Society president/Rashid Hospital (Dubai) Neurology consultant/Dubai Medical College associate professor Dr. Suhail Abdullah AlRukn said: “Eighty-six per cent of migraine cases (across the country) fall under the age range of 20 to 54. We know that genetic and environmental factors play a role. In fact, with migraine often running in families, there is likely a genetic link.”

Ten per cent of the global population, currently estimated at 7.96 billion (7.96 million) and 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent (11.6 million to 23.2 million) of the Middle East (the UAE, Yemen, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Palestine, Oman, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Cyprus and Bahrain), currently estimated at 463 million, suffer from migraine, according to Shatila.

Ayyanar and Shatila were recently remotely interviewed. Al Kuwaiti and AlRukn were among the resource speakers of the virtual roundtable, organized by the US biopharmaceutical firm Pfizer on Wednesday, since every June 29 is Chronic Awareness Day. The entire month of June is the “Headache and Migraine Awareness Month,” the 2022 theme of which is “Out of the Dark.”

All of them said that as migraine is a form of headache, this is distinguishable for the throbbing, pulsating pain that may persist for a maximum of three days, accompanied by nausea, dizziness, blurred or hazy vision and intolerance to noise.

Shatila said there are 150 types of headache: “Many people suffer from migraine headaches. But, people confuse it with tension headaches (mild to intense pain at the scalp, behind the eyes, neck and shoulders), chronic daily headaches (of at least 15 days a month), and sinus headaches (pain and pressure on the sinuses and face).”

Shatila commented on the 2022 theme: “People who suffer from migraine commonly sit in a dark quiet room and avoid loud noises when they have headaches. This isolation and withdrawal from the world negatively affect a person’s psychology. By having effective treatment to minimize both the severity and frequency of migraine, people who once were withdrawn from society in the darkness of the room can now venture outside and discover what the world has to offer. They can live normal productive lives.”

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