Hundreds of thousands of Australians needlessly endure days of agony due to lack of understanding and awareness of migraine symptoms and treatments.
More than three million people in Australia, or about 15% of the population, are affected by the migraine, which costs billions of dollars in the economy.
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But a new study, published Friday, found that many people suffer from migraines and don't even realize it.
One in five is not aware of the available preventive treatments.
Definition of functionalities
Dr. Stephanie Goodhew, of the Research School of Psychology at the Australian National University, says the study highlights the need for a public health campaign to inform the community about treatments and define the characteristics of migraine.
"The migraine is more than a headache. It is an incredibly disabling condition that is also incredibly common," said Dr. Goodhew.
"What makes this unique is that among the neurological conditions, migraine is one of the least diagnosed or misdiagnosed conditions.
"Even when people see their GP, it can be lost or undiagnosed."
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Scientists believe the migraine occurs following three physiological events in the brain; irritability of pain nerves that increase during headache, blood vessel spasms and inflammation.
It is the cumulative effect of these functions that cause debilitating pain.
To learn more about the misunderstood neurological condition, researchers at the Australian National University examined "the literacy of migraine" among the sick and the non-sick.
The study, published in Springer Nature Complete clinical medicine, they found that one in five people who suffered from migraine was not aware of the preventive medications they can access, including Botox.
The study also showed that one in five people who suffered from migraine was unaware of any of the dangers with acute drug treatments, which are often used to treat the condition.
"This research shows that people who suffer from migraines often have incomplete or insufficient information on their condition," said Dr. Goodhew.
"If we can allow people to have a better understanding of migraine, they can sustain the right level of care."
- Nausea and / or dizziness
- Intense / intolerable pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Visual disturbances of the aura / vision
Dr. Goodhew advises people with migraines to talk to your family doctor and arm themselves with knowledge.
They should also ask for a referral to a neurologist, he said.