Not all of us know, but there are different types of migraine, and one is the hemiplegic migraine. Hemiplegic is derived from the condition termed as “hemiplegia” wherein the patient encounters a temporary paralysis of one body part. The symptoms start from 10 minutes to an hour before the actual headache.
Described as a very rare kind of migraine, hemiplegic is also considered as one of the more serious form of migraine. After multiple attacks, it can severely weaken the patients so utmost observation is needed. Generally the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine are as follows:
o Can be brought by a slight head injury
o Paralysis of one body part followed by needles or pins sensation and numbness.
o Headaches which usually disappear on the onset of paralysis.
o Weakness of one side of the body, specifically leg, face or arm. Weakness is usually followed by headaches. Weakness can last for several hours or days.
o Difficulty in speaking
Understanding hemiplegic migraines
require an initial understanding of the migraines episodic attacks. There are two forms of hemiplegic migraines, the familial or FHM and sporadic or SHM.
1. Familial Hemiplegic Migraine or FHM can be identified among chromosome 19 of genes from 50% to 60% of most cases. Migraine attacks can last from 4 to 72 hours. Familial migraines are inherent and can also be observed among first degree relatives specifically the parents, aunts or uncles.
Sequence analysis is often used to identify the triggers of Familial Hemiplegic Migraine. Roughly 50% of families suffering with FHM have an identical mutation and genes.
A study in Denmark revealed that out of 44 families, there 147 FHM patients. Most of the patients suffer from two of the four aura symptoms which involve sensory, aphasic, motor and visual symptoms. 69% of the population suffers from basilar migraine symptoms (vertigo, nausea, vomiting) during FHM attack and 99% suffers from headaches.
2. Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine or SHM is not genetically inclined. It is characterized by attacks which can lead to weaknesses which are also called hemiparesis.
Similarly, sporadic and familial hemiplegic migraines begin in childhood and stop on adult years. Differential diagnosis between FHM and SHM are difficult. The approach can be very hard because the symptoms are also the same with certain vascular diseases and other conditions such as epilepsy and stroke.
While there are general symptoms for hemiplegic migraine, SHM and FHM share their own distinct symptoms which may vary among individuals. The known symptoms are as follows:
o Defective muscular coordination
o Presence of meningitis symptoms but without the illness
o Confusions, deep coma or unconsciousness
o Vertigo, nausea and vomiting
o Weakness due to aura that can last for days or weeks
Upon classification of migraines, your next step is to treat them. You have two goals here; first is to treat the paralysis and second to identify what medications are needed for the illness. Medications should be properly endorsed by physicians to avoid complications. It should be noted that certain medications such as ergotamines and triptans are not prescribed for hemiplegic migraine.
Treatment of migraines can be challenging, but there are certain measures that can help you with this, the abortive and preventive treatment.
1. Abortive or Pain Relief. Pain relievers are used to reduce the pain. Drugs such as narcotic analgesic and antiemetics should be taken during the start of migraine symptoms. There are certain abortives such as triptans which have side effects and can lead to stroke. Triptans and ergotamines are being examined up to now and is not being used to treat migraines.
2. Preventive treatments are considered an important factor in contradicting certain medications for hemiplegic migraines. One of the most effective preventive treatment is calcium channel blockers such as verapamil and flunarizine. These medications require a prescription from specialist.
Hemiplegic migraine patients needs to continuously study the symptoms, the disease, the kind and the treatment for this kind of migraine. It should be kept in mind that treatment is a gradual process. Careful review and a full record of the medical history of the family are essential to track down the causes and for the physician’s accurate diagnosis of the illness. Migraines need not be treated with over the counter drugs which only bring short lived relief.
It is a usual act of seeking the help and care of a physician, especially a migraine specialist to have a solid treatment of your hemiplegic migraine.