Who Gets Migraine Headaches? by Dr Winnie Lim Khoo, Neurologist Manila Philippines
Migraine headaches are now known to have a genetic factor that predisposes individuals that are carrying these genes. Carrying these “migraine” genes is in itself not a problem, and will not necessarily mean that the carrier will ever experience a migraine. This is consistent to the fact that all genes are not expressed unless there is “pressure” that will “turn on “ their function. These genes have to be “turned on” to cause a migraine. Migraine genes can be “turned on” or strongly influenced by environmental factors. A person may inherit a predisposition for developing migraine headaches, but other factors such as stress, food triggers, environmental triggers, hormonal changes, or sleep disturbances are necessary to experience a migraine.
There is always a combination of factors needed to lead a migraine. It is the sum total of these that will push an individual to experiencing a migraine. What seem to trigger an attack one day will not the next. There is a reason for this. The days when no migraine manifests even though the “known trigger” was experienced, is because the total influencing effect of all the factors present (genetic, internal and external factors) at that time were not enough to cause a migraine. Think of it as a points system. If you need 10 points to get a migraine, and each factor is worth lets say 1, 2, 3 or 5 points, having one or two factors may not be enough to give you a migraine. Lets say that the genetic factor for migraine is worth 5 points, a change in atmospheric pressure may be worth 2 and fatigue 2, this in itself will only add to 9. Then, the next factor, lets say a glass of red wine (which would be called the trigger) will push you to 10 and a migraine.
As our health is put under stress via internal or external factors, our ability to cope with these changes decrease. The ability of our body to maintain equilibrium is essential for maintaining proper health. An example of this, is temperature control. When we are warm, our body has a mechanism in place to make us perspire and cool us down. When we are cold, our body will shiver to bring our temperature up to normal. A problem will arise when we put ourselves in a situation that our bodies can’t cope with, such as going outside when it is too hot or too cold. If we stay in those environments for too long we can suffer from heat stroke or hypothermia. Our bodies are not able to compensate for the prolonged drastic change and we develop a problem. Similarly, if we put too much pressure on a bone it will break, or, if we put specific stress on our body, we can develop a migraine.
Over time, we can create a problem with our ability to effectively cope with stress. This may be caused by various lifestyle factors and choices. For example, missing one night of sleep can diminish our immune system cells by 25%! This depletion of immunity can lower our body’s ability to regulate other systems. This leads to a lowered ability to cope with further stress. This in turn can also trigger a migraine. #migraine #migrainetrigger #migrainecure #migrainemedicine #headache #specialist #migrainedoctor #headachedoctor #doctor #braindoctor #medicalspecialist #winnielimkhoo #neurologist #neurologistinmanila #manila #philippines #health #advise #tip #consultation