In today’s time, a rapid paced lifestyle is one we can all relate to. While hustling our way to make those big dreams come true, it is common to hit an unhealthy speed bump that physically holds us back to further progress. That speed bump is known as the age-old enemy, a migraine!
The solution to combating migraines is not to pop painkillers one after the other after reaching the final stage of the cycle. Rather, migraines can be avoided altogether by being aware of the symptoms, triggers and working towards monitoring your diet consumption.
Eligible Magazine was fortunate enough to get a one-on-one session with Dr. Shahzain Hasan on the ultimate guide to combating migraines.
Defining A Migraine
Dr. Shahzain states that there are 150 different types of headaches out of which there are 9 different types of migraines that patients can suffer from. In the world of medicine, migraines are defined as a Common Recurrent Disorder and is a condition that is one of the most common complaints made by patients. Approximately 30 million people in North America suffer from migraines, out of which 75% are women. Therefore, within North America 1 in 6 women are patients of migraines.
Identifying Migraine Symptoms
The primary warning signal our bodies give to us is the formation of a migraine aura which can last from a range of 20-60 minutes. As an aura develops, Dr. Shahzain states that a patient would complain of the following;
- Visual disturbances, such as flashes of zig-zag or wavy vision
- Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- A throbbing or a pulsing headache
Although no diagnostic test can confirm if a patient suffers from a migraine; Dr. Shahzain advises that patients complaining of frequent headaches should opt for a CT scan or MRI to rule out any further doubts about other possible health conditions.
Food And Drink Triggers
Scientific research cannot prove the exact cause of migraines because every individual’s body is unique from one another. Therefore, every patient has their own different triggers that can lead to a migraine. Dr. Shahzain emphasizes that to combat migraines it is primarily essential for patients to monitor their diet and consider the following food
and drink triggers;
- Salty food
- Processed meat
- Canned vegetables
- Food additives, such as the sweetener aspartame
and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Alcohol, specifically red wine
- Caffeinated beverages
- Medication, such as oral contraceptives
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The best possible way to identify which food or drink can be a trigger leading to a migraine is to observe when the aura begins to form. Is it after chugging down that extra mug of coffee with an espresso shot too many, or after devouring your favorite Chinese take-out that includes high amounts of MSG? Observation is key. Dr. Shahzain guides us on an effective strategy that can be implemented to avoid triggers. Within 24 hours after intaking a specific food or drink, if you observe that a headache has occurred, avoid that food or drink for the next 4 weeks. If your migraine does not occur during that time period, then you know exactly what to discontinue in your diet.
Dr. Shahzain asserts that naturally, it may be difficult to eradicate certain food or drink products from your diet, such as canned vegetables or processed meat, therefore the healthy way to go about it is to limit your intake to avoid the triggers leading to a migraine.
For further consultancy, Dr. Shahzain Hasan can further be contacted at [email protected].