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A migraine headache is caused by abnormal brain activity. This activity can be triggered by many things. But the exact chain of events remains unclear. Most medical experts believe the attack begins in the brain and involves nerve pathways and chemicals. The changes affect blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues.

The pain of a migraine usually appears on one side of the head, but some occur on both sides. Throbbing pain may be present. A majority of patients feel nauseated, and some vomit. Most become sensitive to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia). This phase may last 4 to 72 hours. Even if untreated, the pain usually goes away with sleep.

Migraine attacks may be triggered by any of the following:

-Caffeine withdrawal
-Changes in hormone levels during a woman’s menstrual cycle or with the use of birth control    pills
-Changes in sleep patterns, such as not getting enough sleep
-Drinking alcohol
-Exercise or other physical stress
-Loud noises or bright lights
-Missed meals
-Odors or perfumes
-Smoking or exposure to smoke
-Stress and anxiety

Migraines can also be triggered by certain foods. Most common are:

-Chocolate
-Dairy foods, especially certain cheeses
-Foods with mono-sodium glutamate (MSG)
-Foods with tyramine, which includes red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and certain beans
-Fruits such as avocado, banana and citrus fruits
-Meats containing nitrates such as bacon, hot dogs, salami and cured meats
-Onions
-Peanuts and other nuts and seeds
-Processed, fermented, pickled, or marinated foods

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Some of the common signs of a migraine are eye pain, a stiff paining neck, pain on one side of the head; the pain only stops when you sleep and wake up later, frequent urination, numbness, nausea and weakness on one side of the body. A migraine can lead to stroke in an individual. This is the reason why you should know about it and stay safe and healthy.

Protect yourself from migraines by avoiding possible triggers of migraines listed above.

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