Migraine with aura is a temporary condition experienced by 15-20% of all migraineurs. It is a combination of visual or other strange sensory distortions that occur before the actual migraine begins, commonly referred to as the prodromal stage. Although most migrainers report their aura beginning 20-40 minutes before the headache, it can begin hours or even days before the onset of the migraine. Some people experience aura symptoms without experiencing the pain of an actual migraine. This is called a migraine aura without headache or a silent migraine. Still, others continue to have aura symptoms during the actual migraine itself.
Although the symptoms of migraine aura may be quite frightening, it can also be a blessing in disguise. For some people, it gives them time to stop their normal activities and find a quiet place to rest. Because auras can be a warning sign of an impending migraine, many people with aura symptoms choose to take medication immediately, thus alleviating the other symptoms of their.
Migraine aura symptoms may include unusual visual disturbances such as flashing lights, bright spots and stars, blind spots, seeing geometric shapes such as circles, squares or jagged lines around objects and having objects appear to be farther away or closer than they really are. These visual changes often begin in the center of the field of vision and tend to spread out or move outward. Other temporary sensations of migraine aura may include numbness or a tingling sensation in the hands feet and lips, muscle weakness, vertigo, difficulty speaking and concentrating, thirst, ringing in the ears, a stiff neck and a feeling of euphoria or irritability.
Doctors believe that one of the causes of aura include the decrease in blood flow to the brain, thus decreasing oxygen. They also suspect that the over-excitement of brain cells is responsible.
The treatment of migraine aura is usually the same as migraine without aura. Luckily, if a person normally experiences nausea with their headaches, nausea medication can be taken and is commonly well-tolerated during this stage. Also, a person with migraine aura may be prescribed medication by their doctor to be taken at the first signs of aura. For some, this medication can alleviate the symptoms of both the aura and the headache. It may even prevent the actual migraine from occurring. A healthcare professional with experience in the field of treating migraines will often ask his patients if they experience aura with their migraines and prescribe medications and offer advice accordingly.
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