‘Migraine is a chronic disease’: Nurse talks about impacts of migraines and what you can do to treat it

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 11:53 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Migraines can impact a person’s daily life for one day or an extended period of time.

Jeanette Carlin is a nurse practitioner and says there are many things that can put pressure on an individual’s migraine.

“Triggers in the environment can bring on a migraine attack for somebody who has migraine. And these are things like, you know, storm fronts or weather, weather changes, stress, too much caffeine, alcohol, not having enough sleep, skipping meals, that sort of thing.”

Some of the additional symptoms of a migraine include nausea, vomiting, sensitivities to light and sound, blurred vision, dizziness and sometimes brain fog.

Carlin says about 38 million Americans deal with migraine.

“It’s the number five leading cause of disability in the US,” Carlin said. “And we need to as a society take migraine more seriously, recognize it as a chronic disease that isn’t going away for some people.”

On the bright side, Carlin says there are some things you can do at home or at work to temporarily treat your migraines:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Sit in a dark room
  • Sometimes caffeine can help your migraine go away, but keep an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intake overall
  • Take a few minutes to destress each day

Most importantly, Carlin says it’s important to talk to your doctor for a long term solution if your migraines are becoming more common.

“Talking to your physician or advanced practice provider about you know what, what you’re experiencing is really important. They might be able to diagnose you with migraine, if it really is a migraine and start you on treatment,” Carlin said. “I think employers would be really smart to help their employee with migraine get help for their migraine condition, and also to make some reasonable and simple accommodations. I think employers, families, friends, you know, can, if they understand more about migraine, that it is a disease that someone doesn’t choose to have. They don’t want to be in bed, they don’t want to miss work, and just give them that extra flexibility that they’re asking for.”

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