Yesterday on "FOX & Friends" I talked about the latest research in the treatment of migraine headaches. For close to 30 million Americans, migraines are a very serious problem — especially women (three times as many women get them, than men).
Symptoms like a throbbing, one-sided headache, sensitivity to light, nausea, and neck pain, make life impossible and can limit our daily routines. Depending on the sufferer, these symptoms last anywhere from a few hours to a few days!
Up to this point, the specific root cause for these headaches was focused on vasodilatation of certain vessels in the brain. But brand new research coming out of the Jefferson Headache Center indicates that the mechanism behind a migraine is a little more complex. Researchers are classifying these headaches as a vascular and neurological problem. It is now believed that migraines involve a series of steps that include inflammation leading to vasodilatation, which ultimately leads to pain. This complex mechanism might help to explain the variety of symptoms that patients experience.
It may sound like a lot of medical mumbo jumbo, but the bottom line is this: This discovery has led to what researchers believe is a better way to bust migraines!
Data presented at the American Academy of Neurology described the efficacy of a new pill (still under investigation) that would combine Sumatripton (Imitrex) with Naproxen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). This combination of drugs would allow the vascular, as well as the neurological pathways, to be treated in combination, thus improving the symptoms for many patients. The data so far seems promising.
Still, for many patients, attention has to be paid to possible trigger mechanisms such as alcohol (red wine), nuts, foods rich in nitrates, excessive stress and, of course, hormonal imbalances. A perfect example of a hormonal effect is the way that some women with migraines react to birth control pills. For many women, the drop in estrogen at the end of menstruation, when on the birth control pill, triggers migraines.
In the meantime, remember to eat a balanced diet rich in antioxidants so that your metabolism runs well. And if you feel like trying something new, consider all the good news reported about the use of acupuncture and how it is helping many migraines sufferers.
P.S. Don't forget to watch FOX News Channel. And please feel free to write to me at DRMANNY@FOXNEWS.COM and tell me what you think. Ask a question, share a thought, share a remedy — We'll try to answer all of your mail online or on the air.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.