If you have ever experienced the severe pain caused by a migraine, or migraine and memory loss you’d understand that it does seem like your brain is permanently being damaged. Brain scans of people who have suffered migraines also show lesions. Can migraines lead to permanent neurological damage and cognitive decline?
Here’s what we know about Migraines and whether or not they cause brain damage and memory loss.
What is a migraine and what causes migraines?
A migraine is a severe headache that is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to lights, especially screens. Migraines can be experienced by people differently. Studies show that hours or even days before the migraine you may experience sensitivity to light, fatigue, mood fluctuations, bloating, and constipation.
Complex migraines and memory loss
Migraine symptoms known as Aura are linked to the nervous system and sight. These are mild, physical symptoms that can last from 5 to 20 minutes after which the migraine attack begins.
The Migraine attack is when the headache begins as a dull ache and quickly develops into throbbing pain. You may then experience nausea, vomiting, and fainting alongside the migraine. The migraine can last from up to 4 hours to several days.
The Migraine Postdrome is when the migraine and you experience tiredness, muscle pain, weakness or exhaustion, and change in food cravings and unusual appetite.
Although both men and women suffer from migraines, women are more at risk than men. Family history and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorders are associated with migraines.
Migraines can be triggered by hormonal changes, stress, excessive intake of foods such as cheese, alcohol, and caffeine. Certain drugs and medicines can also trigger migraines in people.
What is a brain lesion and can you get brain lesions from migraines?
A brain lesion is a damaged or injured tissue that shows up on brain scans or MRIs. Brain lesions can vary in size and some of them can be life-threatening. Studies show that migraines can cause lesions.
There are two different types of lesions. White Matter Lesions are mostly made up of nerves and can affect emotions. These types of lesions are most likely caused by age and are common in patients with Strokes, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s.
The second type of lesions, called Infarct-like lesions are caused by blood flow restriction which leads to the death of brain cells and can run the risk of dementia among older people. These types of lesions are not that common among people with migraines.
Studies show that frequent migraines can increase the risk of lesions. This is because migraines cause low blood flow and blood pressure, leading to tiny blood clots in certain areas of the brain. Migraines can also lead to tissue inflammation which is also one of the reasons why lesions are caused. The risk of lesions is also linked to migraines coupled with heart problems.
Can Migraines damage your brain with headache memory loss?
As we know that migraines can cause lesions, it is also important to remember that lesions can rarely lead to irreversible brain damage or memory loss. You don’t need to get a brain scan every time you have a migraine. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take the necessary measures to prevent migraines and lesions.
There are many myths about migraines and brain damage. Although the severity of migraines cannot be ignored, there is no scientific evidence as to migraines resulting in permanent brain damage.
There are many studies conducted on migraines to study their prognosis and effects. The two main studies on migraines include the CAMERA study and the EVA study which shows that migraines have had no long-term effects on people’s brains.
Migraines are associated with old age when cognitive decline and memory loss is common. The two can simply be linked to old age.
Migraines are extremely painful so one of the ways that frequent migraines can affect you is by creating a dysfunctional learning process, allowing your brain to produce, perpetuate and survive through increased levels of pain.
Migraines can affect your quality of life. The people who suffer from frequent and severe migraines complain about how the ailment affects the overall productivity of their life. Although migraines do not cause brain damage and memory loss. The people who have suffered from migraines have an increased risk of suffering brain damage, cognitive decline, difficulty expressing themselves using language, and possible memory impairment.
How to prevent migraine brain damage?
Migraines and lesions can be prevented by treating them early on and lowering your risk. If you get migraines frequently you should consult a doctor and take your medications on time. You should also take proper care of your sleep and diet. With proper exercise and stress management, you can easily avoid the risk of migraines and lesions.