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When you consider what defines healthy eyes, among the criteria is good vision. The American Optometric Association says the term 20/20 vision is used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Visual acuity is usually measured with a Snellen chart. It’s likely everyone has seen the Snellen chart – usually starting with a huge “E,” .....

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to conceive and may damage the fetus.


Migraines worsen during perimenopause because of the intense hormonal fluctuations women encounter. The good news is the prevalence of migraines drops significantly after age 60, so if you have one after reaching that milestone, it is wise to investigate the causes of the pain with your doctor to eliminate other medical problems.


There are typical signs and symptoms of migraine, but each attack can vary. “It is a neurological disease and not a headache,” Glaser said. “So some people do not get head pain, but they have visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to sound, light and smell, food cravings, tingling or numbness. Attacks last between four and 72 hours and after you may continue to feel unwell for a while.”


Unfortunately, the cause of migraine is unknown. “There is a genetic component but also some environmental factors that turn the genetic switch on,” Glaser said. “It is complicated, but 90 percent of people who suffer migraines have a family history.

If you suffer from migraines, you’re not alone. “Migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world, affecting about a billion people, which is about 18 percent of American women,” said Cathy Glaser, president of the Migraine Research Foundation.


Since migraine is a complicated disease, all women are affected differently.


“‘Migraine’ is an umbrella phrase,” Glaser said. “A woman might get menstrual migraines during a certain point in her menstrual cycle or a migraine with aura, a hemiplegic migraine, an ocular migraine or she might have chronic migraines.”


Migraines can occur at any time in your life. “The prime time is between ages 25 and 55, which are your peak productive years,” Glaser said.


Menstrual migraines occur up to two days before and up to three days after a period begins. They are triggered by hormonal fluctuations such as estrogen withdrawal and are treated with the same medications that help other kinds of migraines. Hormonal contraception can make things better for some women, but it can make things worse for others. If you suffer from migraines, you should discuss your pregnancy plans with your doctor because some migraine medications can affect your ability

WOMEN AND MIGRAINES

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Jamie Lober

” Getting proper treatment is the key to managing migraines. “Only 50 percent of people who suffer migraines are ever diagnosed,” Glaser said. “That means the other 50 percent are self-diagnosing and could be making their condition worse.”


Medications are available for prevention and treatment of migraines, so it is worth seeking guidance. There are also some promising developments on the horizon.


“There is a new class of drugs currently being investigated called CGRP that target a different pathway than has been targeted in the past,” Glaser said. These drugs are all still in clinical trials and are not available yet to use.


Until migraines are fully understood, it will not be possible to develop the kind of targeted treatments that could prevent them from becoming chronic. “We are never talking about cure; we are talking about control and management,” Glaser said. “The most important thing is for people to manage their expectations and understand that this is not just a headache, so you will not be able to cure it. But there are things you can do to help yourself if you are proactive in seeking out information and treatment options.”