Sunday, June 5, 2011

Causes And Risk Factors Of Migraines

Causes & Risk Factors:
A lot of people get migraines -- about 11 out of 100. The headaches tend to first appear between the ages of 10 and 46. Occasionally, migraines may occur later in life in a person with no history of such headaches. Migraines occur more often in women than men, and may run in families. Women may have fewer migraines when they are pregnant. Most women with such headaches have fewer attacks during the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

A migraine is caused by abnormal brain activity, which is triggered by stress, certain foods, environmental factors, or something else. However, the exact chain of events remains unclear.

Scientists used to believe that migraines were due to changes in blood vessels within the brain. Today, most medical experts believe the attack actually begins in the brain itself, where it involves various nerve pathways and chemicals. The changes affect blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues.

Migraine attacks may be triggered by:
    * Alcohol
    * Allergic reactions
    * Bright lights
    * Certain odors or perfumes
    * Changes in hormone levels (which can occur during a woman's menstrual cycle or with the use of birth control pills)
    * Changes in sleep patterns
    * Exercise
    * Loud noises
    * Missed meals
    * Physical or emotional stress
    * Smoking or exposure to smoke

Certain foods and preservatives in foods may trigger migraines in some people. Food-related triggers may include:
    * Any processed, fermented, pickled, or marinated foods
    * Baked goods
    * Chocolate
    * Dairy products
    * Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
    * Foods containing tyramine, which includes red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and certain beans
    * Fruits (avocado, banana, citrus fruit)
    * Meats containing nitrates (bacon, hot dogs, salami, cured meats)
    * Nuts
    * Onions
    * Peanut butter

This list may not be all-inclusive.True migraine headaches are not a result of a brain tumor or other serious medical problem. However, only an experienced health care provider can determine whether your symptoms are due to a migraine or another condition.

Symptoms Of Migraine

 A migraine is a common type of headache that may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. In many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of the head.

Vision disturbances, or aura, are considered a "warning sign" that a migraine is coming. The aura occurs in both eyes and may involve any or all of the following:

    * A temporary blind spot
    * Blurred vision
    * Eye pain
    * Seeing stars or zigzag lines
    * Tunnel vision

Not every person with migraines has an aura. Those who do usually develop one about 10 - 15 minutes before the headache. However, it may occur just a few minutes to 24 hours beforehand.

Migraine headaches can be dull or severe. The pain may be felt behind the eye or in the back of the head and neck. For many patients, the headaches start on the same side each time. The headaches usually:

    * Feel throbbing, pounding, or pulsating
    * Are worse on one side of the head
    * Start as a dull ache and get worse within minutes to hours
    * Last 6 to 48 hours

Other symptoms that may occur with the headache include:
    * Chills
    * Increased urination
    * Fatigue
    * Loss of appetite
    * Nausea and vomiting
    * Numbness, tingling, or weakness
    * Problems concentrating, trouble finding words
    * Sensitivity to light or sound
    * Sweating

Symptoms that may linger even after the migraine has gone away include:
    * Feeling mentally dull, like your thinking is not clear or sharp
    * Increased need for sleep
    * Neck pain

How To Prevent Asthma?

Asthma symptoms can be substantially reduced by avoiding known triggers and substances that irritate the airways.

Bedding can be covered with "allergy proof" casings to reduce exposure to dust mites. Removing carpets from bedrooms and vacuuming regularly is also helpful. Detergents and cleaning materials in the home should be unscented.

Keeping humidity levels low and fixing leaks can reduce growth of organisms such as mold. Keep the house clean and keep food in containers and out of bedrooms -- this helps reduce the possibility of cockroaches, which can trigger asthma attacks in some people.

If a person is allergic to an animal that cannot be removed from the home, the animal should be kept out of the patient's bedroom. Filtering material can be placed over the heating outlets to trap animal dander.

Eliminating tobacco smoke from the home is the single most important thing a family can do to help a child with asthma. Smoking outside the house is not enough. Family members and visitors who smoke outside carry smoke residue inside on their clothes and hair -- this can trigger asthma symptoms.

Persons with asthma should also avoid air pollution, industrial dusts, and other irritating fumes, as much as possible.

Treatment For Asthma

The goal of treatment is to avoid the substances that trigger your symptoms and to control airway inflammation. You and your doctor should work together as a team to develop and carry out a plan for eliminating asthma triggers and monitoring symptoms.

There are two basic kinds of medication for the treatment of asthma:

    * Long-acting medications to prevent attacks
    * Quick-relief medications for use during attacks

Long-term control medications are used on a regular basis to prevent attacks, not to treat them. Such medicines include:

    * Inhaled corticosteroids (such as Azmacort, Vanceril, AeroBid, Flovent) prevent inflammation
    * Leukotriene inhibitors (such as Singulair and Accolate)
    * Long-acting bronchodilators (such as Serevent) help open airways
    * Omilizumab (Xolair), which blocks a pathway that the immune system uses to trigger asthma symptoms
    * Cromolyn sodium (Intal) or nedocromil sodium (Tilade)
    * Aminophylline or theophylline (not used as frequently as in the past)
    * Sometimes a single medication that combines steroids and bronchodilators are used (Advair, Symbicort)

Quick relief, or rescue, medications are used to relieve symptoms during an attack. These include:

    * Short-acting bronchodilators (inhalers), such as Proventil, Ventolin, Xopenex, and others
    * Corticosteroids, such as methylprednisolone, may be given directly into a vein (intravenously), during a severe attack, along with other inhaled medications

People with mild asthma (infrequent attacks) may use quick relief medication as needed. Those with persistent asthma should take control medications on a regular basis to prevent symptoms. A severe asthma attack requires a check up by a doctor and, possibly, a hospital stay, oxygen, and medications through a vein (IV).

A peak flow meter is a simple device to measure how quickly you can move air out of your lungs. It can help you see if an attack is coming, sometimes even before any symptoms appear. Peak flow measurements can help show when medication is needed, or other action needs to be taken. Peak flow values of 50-80% of a specific person's best results are a sign of a moderate asthma attack, while values below 50% are a sign of a severe attack.

Causes & Risk Factors Of Asthma

Causes & Risk Factors:
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swell. This reduces the amount of air that can pass by, and can lead to wheezing sounds.

Most people with asthma have wheezing attacks separated by symptom-free periods. Some patients have long-term shortness of breath with episodes of increased shortness of breath. In others, a cough may be the main symptom. Asthma attacks can last minutes to days and can become dangerous if the airflow becomes severely restricted.

In sensitive individuals, asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in allergy-causing substances (called allergens or triggers).

Common asthma triggers include:

    * Animals (pet hair or dander)
    * Dust
    * Changes in weather (most often cold weather)
    * Chemicals in the air or in food
    * Exercise
    * Mold
    * Pollen
    * Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
    * Strong emotions (stress)
    * Tobacco smoke

Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) provoke asthma in some patients.

Many people with asthma have an individual or family history of allergies, such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or eczema. Others have no history of allergies.