Aug 1, 2008

What Are The Causes of Your Headache?

I had some small chat with my high school friend who is currently living in Singapore. She's been there for almost a year now. I told her about how I am having fun with blogging. She asked me if it is okay with me to post an entry about migraine and headache. I said, "Sure". I hope she'll appreciate this post. Some of the contents is from a magazine article I read before. It is really annoying whenever we have a headache and even migraine. Yes I have migraine. Based on my own experiences, I tell you it is a disaster whenever I get one. I used to read health magazines, leaflets, information booklets, and even posters discussing about headaches like what are the causes or triggers and their types.

Though the causes of headaches are not fully understood, experts believe that certain substances can trigger painful episodes in some people simulating the nervous system to release chemicals that make the brain's blood vessels expand. As they swell, more chemicals are released, irritating surrounding tissues and causing pain.

Common Triggers

Food and Drink - Some people who have migraine headaches, eating and drinking can be risky. They are troubled by artificial sweeteners, sodium nitrite and nitrate, preservatives in meat like in luncheon meats, ham, bacon and others. Even white wine, red wine, champagne can pack a punch, as alcohol causes the brain's blood vessels to swell. (I drink wine and champagne but I am a moderate drinker). How about chocolates? I love chocolates. Though it is often removed from the diet, new research suggests it might be the trigger once thought. Caffeine can work both ways: in some people, like me, moderate amounts (a cup of coffee a day, for example) can ease a headache by tightening the brain's blood vessels; for others, any amount might flip the headache switch.

Hormones -Statistics says that roughly 70% of adult migraine sufferers are women. According to a doctor-director of the Women's Comprehensive Headache Center at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, fluctuations in estrogen levels are to blame. Menstruating women are hit hardest two or three days before their periods when levels of estrogen are dropping. Those using birth control pills are also vulnerable. (And I may say that I am also one of the women who has hormonal imbalance).

Lifestyle Factors - Low blood sugar levels caused by skipping or delaying meals can bring on a headache, as can dehydration and sleeping too much or too little. (I believe on these). Although it is impossible to get rid of stress, keeping levels manageable can help eliminate one trigger: the "letdown" period immediately after a difficult time, such as a thorny work project. That is why our parents are always telling us to eat meals on time.

Note: Continuation of this post is on my next entries. I need to get some sleep.

Some content source by Jennifer Pirtle, Inform Mag.
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