If your mother suffers from migraines, does that mean that your headaches are also hereditary? Probably, but migraines not only hereditary; in addition to genetics, other factors that contribute to migraine disorder may include triggers in food, weather, and stress levels.
What is a migraine?
Medically speaking, migraines are a neurological disorder that is often hereditary, but also influenced by “migraine triggers” in the environment.
Migraines cause intense frequent headaches, usually on one side of the head. Chronic migraine patients may also experience extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, joint stiffness, and hypersensitivity to lights, scents, and noises.
Sometimes, migraines are preceded by an “aura” which causes stroke-like symptoms of disorientation, visual disturbances, partial numbness, and temporary loss of speech.
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Who gets migraines?
Migraines are usually hereditary; about four out of five people with migraines have a known family history for migraine headaches.
- About three-quarters of migraine patients are female, making migraine disorder one of the most prominent causes of unemployment and disability among women.
- If one parent suffers from chronic migraines, then you have a 50/50 chance of developing migraine disorder.
- If migraines run in both sides of the family, then your risk of getting migraines is about 75%.
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Are migraines always genetic?
Not everybody who has a parent suffering from migraines is necessarily going to develop migraine headaches, as well.
In fact, according to some research, it is possible for one twin to have migraines, while the other sibling does not.
Therefore, scientists don’t say that heredity causes migraines, but that a correlation exists, that overwhelmingly, most migraine patients are hereditarily predisposed to severe chronic headaches.
Scientists have even discovered a genetic link, a mutation that correlates strongly with familial hemiplegic migraine. Researchers also believe that a number of genetic abnormalities may increase ones risk for inheriting other types of migraines, as well.
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“We’re trying to find the genetic basis of migraine, and basically speaking, this is the beginning,” explains Dr. Stephen Silberstein, director of the Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, referring to the study which was published in Nature Genetics, June 2012.
“Now we know in what neighborhood the genes are located, but we still don’t know where the houses are. It’s an important first step.”
If you know that at least one parent gets migraines, then it helps to be prepared. Read up about migraine triggers that raise your risk even higher for developing chronic headaches. Migraine headache triggers may include certain foods, changes in weather, irregular sleep patterns, hormones, or stress.
Even if migraines are hereditary, you can reduce your risks by exercising daily, keeping a migraine diary, learning how to relax, and supplementing with vitamins and minerals that benefit migraine patients, such as riboflavin, CoQ10, butterbur, and magnesium.
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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