Understanding Migraines and Headaches
Most people from all over the world know what a headache is but simply cannot define it. Practically everyone on earth who is older than a year has, at some point in life, experienced at least one headache. Sometimes, instead of getting just headaches, they may end up getting migraines. Unfortunately very few people know the difference between the two and many of them use the two terms interchangeably. So is there a difference?
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The difference between headaches and migraines
Simply put, a headache is a painful throbbing of the head. It usually takes place when the nerves in the head are somehow forced to strain. Again contrary to what many people believe, the headaches do not originate directly from the brain. The brain does not have any nerves and is therefore incapable of suffering such strains. It occurs in the thin tissues that surround the brain and separate it from the skull.
A migraine, on the other hand, is a special type of headache but one that is more painful and more localized. It usually attacks only one side of the head and can be triggered by a number of factors, some of which will be discussed here. According to various research studies on the matter, it has been found that women are generally more prone to migraine attacks compared to men. The rate of occurrence of migraines in women is about 75% more than the rate of occurrence in men. This difference may be due to their susceptibility to some of the factors that trigger migraines and headaches.
Triggers of migraines
Migraines and headaches can be triggered by any of a number of things. The most common triggers can be grouped as follows:
Environmental triggers- this is where something in the environment, either visual or audio or even both triggers the onset of a headache or migraine. Some examples of environmental triggers include very loud noises and bright flashing lights.
Stress and depression- these are two of the leading triggers of migraines among women and that phenomenon may be explained by the fact that they always have more emotional awareness than men.
Hormonal changes- again this trigger is more common among women than it is among men due to the fact that the former usually tend to have more frequent hormonal changes compared to the latter.
Dietary triggers- some specific foods such as red wine, chocolate or processed meat can sometimes trigger the onset of headaches and migraines. Caffeine also falls within this category and you probably already know the kind of headache that comes with a hangover after a night of heavy drinking. If you are taking any of these on a more than regular basis then you need to cut down your consumption to reduce the risk of headaches.