Diagnosed with Migraine Equivalent Symptoms: What’s the Difference?

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A migraine attack by any other name is still a migraine, so why use terms like migraine equivalent to describe migraine attacks that don’t involve headaches? Listed are some migraine equivalent neuropathy symptoms.

Diagnosed with Migraine Equivalent Symptoms: What’s the Difference?

Migraines are relative. Literally.

Migraines are a neurological disorder, and crippling headaches that can last for days are the most common symptom, but not exclusively.

If you always get head pain with migraine attacks, then it’s fairly easy to get a diagnosis for migraine illness and commence to get the proper treatment. But sometimes, migraine attacks cause a wide variety of debilitating symptoms that exclude headache, and the patient may not even realize that migraines are the root of the problem.

Either way, it’s all part of the same neurological illness, but for clarification purposes and for future diagnosis if chronic headaches should occur later in life, doctors label certain types of migraine symptoms as migraine equivalent, meaning that they are equal to a migraine attack, just without the headaches.

Diagnosing migraine equivalent

As with migraines that occur with headaches, migraine equivalent neuropathy can only be diagnosed after other ailments or injuries have been ruled out.

Before confirming symptoms of migraine equivalent, you doctor will take the following criteria into account:

  • Evidence of brain lesions
  • Family history of migraine attacks
  • Previous history of chronic headaches
  • Brain tumor

Migraine equivalent types

The following migraine symptoms may indicate a migraine attack, even if headaches don’t occur even once:

Abdominal migraine

Abdominal migraines are most common with young children, especially girls, and don’t produce headaches. Instead, migraine equivalent symptoms include strong stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and excessive yawning.

These symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for stress or anxiety, when they really indicate a need for migraine treatment.

Migraine with aura

Migraines with aura are very similar to typical migraine attacks, except that they include a pre-migraine phase that warn of the impending attack, and don’t necessarily produce strong headaches.

Symptoms of migraine with aura include:

  • Unusual ocular symptoms, such as white spots, voids, oscillating shapes, zigzags, blurring, and partial blindness
  • Nausea, vomiting, and vertigo
  • Distorted sense of time and spatial awareness
  • Hallucinatory scents
  • Temporary speech slurring
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Partial paralysis

Some of these symptoms may simulate a stroke, so it’s important for your friends and family to know if you suffer from migraines with aura. Even if you think you are having a severe migraine equivalent attack involving stroke-like symptoms, you should have somebody contact emergency services.

Please tell us…

Do you suffer from symptoms similar to migraine equivalent, but have not been diagnosed with migraines?

Did you have abdominal migraines as a child, but didn’t make the connection until much later in life?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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