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Turn Off The Lights!
Jan 2015
Dr Sudhir Kumar
Senior Consultant Neurologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

Migraine is the commonest cause of headache in the world, affecting about 15 per cent of the women and 5 per cent of the men. Most patients suffering from migraine are young (children, adolescents and young adults). Migraine is characterised by repeated episodes of headache, affecting one or both sides of head and is generally associated with nausea or vomiting. Each episode of headache lasts for at least four hours, however, in some cases, it may last for upto 72 hours.

Trigger Factors For Migraine
Headache episodes in a patient with migraine can get triggered by several factors, the commonest being exposure to light. It is common for patients with migraine to suffer from headaches, when they venture out in the sun. This may include going out for walks, shopping, travelling, etc.

In severe cases of migraine, during headache episodes, the patient prefers to lie down in the room, with all lights switched off, and curtains drawn to prevent even a small amount of light entering inside!

In addition to light, other common triggers for headache include:

  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Fasting
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Menstrual periods
  • Exposure to certain food items such as aerated drinks, excessive coffee, Chinese food, chocolates, cakes, cheese etc.

It should be noted that the trigger factors in migraine differ from person to person.