What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Migraine Connection to Associated Conditions

A migraine is a severe and often debilitating type of headache that affects three times more women than men, according to the US National Headache Foundation (NHS).

Close to 30 million people are known to suffer from the condition in just the United States with possibly many more cases going unreported. The NHS says that sufferers often have their pain misdiagnosed as tension headaches or sinus headaches.

Do I Suffer From Migraines?

It's important to be an advocate for your personal health. If you suspect you have migraines, fight to make sure you get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment. If the pain is severe, ask to see a specialist if your family doctor isn't able or willing to provide you with the help you need.

Migraines can't be entirely cured. But there are treatment options available to help you live as productive life as possible.

Here are some of the characteristics which might mean you suffer from migraines.

· Are your headaches accompanied by vomiting or nausea?

· Do you experience an unusual sensitivity to light or sound?

· Do you experience visual disturbances?

· Is the head pain pulsating or throbbing?

· Is the pain felt mostly on one side of the head?

· Would you describe the headache pain as moderate or intense enough to affect your daily activities?

· Does exertion, like climbing stairs, make the pain worse?

· Does the pain last for hours? A migraine that lasts four to 72 hours or longer often indicates a migraine.

Associated Conditions

Anyone can experience migraines. The risk is higher if there's a hereditary gene meaning there are members in your family that also suffer from migraines.

Certain medical conditions can increase the likelihood of a person experiencing migraines.


A study reported in Respiratory Reviews, a publication for physicians that provides "the latest information on respiratory medicine" says there is a connection.

The publication reports of a study done by Dr. David Statchan and associates from St. George's Hospital school in London. He and his colleagues examined the association between asthma and migraine in a national database of English and Welsh residents. In the national database were nearly 65,000 potential migraine cases.

The researchers concluded that there's a suggested link "between migraine (vascular reactivity) and asthma (bronchial reactivity) that is independent of allergic mechanisms." They go on to say that "a shared functional abnormality of smooth muscle in blood vessels and airways offers a plausible explanation for this link."

Sleep Disorders

The National Institue of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) says there a connection between headaches in general and sleep disorders. According to the institute headaches are often a secondary symptom of a sleep-related disorder.

According to the NINDS almost three quarter of those suffering from the sleep disorder nacrolepsy suffer from migraines or cluster headaches as well.

The reason for the connection between sleep disorders and migraines appears to have something to do with the transition between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and other sleep periods. Those who have sleep disorders don't have as smooth REM transition or lack of REM which impact the blood vessels in the brain.


Migraines and hypertension tend to co-exist, according to an article published in Australia Family Physician. The article, based on research done by St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria, says the relationship between the two is probably coincidental.

There is, however, some evidence that there could be a connection between the poor control of blood pressure associated with hypertension and migraines. The evidence suggests that blood pressure control can make the frequency and severity of the migraines worse.

Often the blood controlling medication used to treat hypertension also appears to help treat the migraine symptoms as well.