Understanding Silent Migraine

“Silent migraine” is an unusual name for a chronic illness. People are used to saying or hearing a scientific term when referring to a medical condition. Accordingly, the names of the different types of migraine give clue to its believed cause or source, or nature. Silent migraine, however , is a curious name because sound is not something associated that with migraine. Nevertheless, it is a disease that affects quite a number of people and for this reason, it needs to be understood.

Silent migraine is also known as acephalgic migraine, eye migraine, visual migraine, ocular migraine. Experts, however , refer to it as migraine aura without headache. To better understand it, one needs to be familiar with the four stages of a typical migraine attack. The initial stage is called the prodrome. It is the time when warnings of an attack start to appear, such as irritability or confusion, diarrhea, thirst and food cravings. The next phase is the aura, a time when visual symptoms are felt. During this stage, other physical manifestations could also arise. These include slurred speech, tingling sensations or numbness and difficulty in moving. The pain then proceeds after this phase, which could last up to seventy-two hours. When this is over, sufferers will feel very tired for a day or so. Not all migraineurs go through all the four stages during an attack. Some migraines occur without the aura and some have episodes without the pain. This is what happens with a silent migraine.

Like the other migraine types, silent migraine has its own set of symptoms consisting of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite or food cravings, thirst, fatigue, increased urination, chills, confusion, irritability and a feeling of euphoria. The most obvious symptom of silent migraine is the aura, which is a visual disturbance that is felt by the sufferer. When experiencing aura, he sees one or more of the following: wavy or jagged lines, flashing lights, dots and blind spots. Together with the aura, the patient might also go through distortions in sounds, smell or taste, numbness or tingling sensations in other parts of the body or speech difficulties.

Experts believe that a silent migraine is caused by abnormal nerve cell activity in the brain. Auras result when there is overstimulation and then depression of the activities of these nerve cells. The reduction of activity spreads across the brain, starting from the visual part to the other parts which affect bodily sensation and hearing. This chain reaction is started by certain events or substances called triggers. Identified triggers for silent migraine include stress, inadequate sleep, skipped meals, caffeine, alcohol, changes in weather, certain food, hormonal changes, bright lights and loud noises.

Mild or moderate attacks of silent migraine do not need treatment except rest. For more severe episodes, aspirin, beta-blockers and drugs classified as beta-agonist inhalant, are prescribed. Like the other forms of migraine, the best treatment is prevention the natural way. This involves no drugs but requires good self-care. This is the option that most migraine sufferers ought to consider.

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