Migraines/stroke risk

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Post  estre004 on Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:00 am

We've touched on this before but read in the paper this morning of a 14 year old who had a stroke. One of the symptoms:

"Levi had had severe headaches in the months leading up to his stroke, and doctors said that is one of many symptoms that can lead to a stroke."

I strongly believe that we have to avoid migraines as much as possible, and that people should be made aware that migraines are serious--not just a headache.

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Post  Brent on Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:16 am

I wonder how many mig patients die from stroke because they just assume the pain is a mig? Anyone else would know immediately something was wrong and get help.
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Post  estre004 on Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:24 am

Good point Brent---also how many people have had a stroke from their migraine but do not know it (only can tell with an MRI).

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Post  Paradox on Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:31 am

My mother had migraines (as did her mother). After age 50 she had a series of mini-strokes until her death at age 63 (of something other than stroke).
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Post  Brent on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:01 pm

I have also read that some long time mig patients actually have small brain lesions that show up on MRI's. To me that was bittersweet since those are most likely dead brain cells but at least there is some objective sign of migs also.
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Post  estre004 on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:08 pm

I've also read about the lesions. It didn't take this information for me to come to the conclusion that migraines are serious. How can that extreme of pain on the brain NOT be serious!

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Post  Guest on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:36 pm

Strokes and migraines can be somewhat difficult to diagnose in a complex patient, especially if they have complicated migraine with severe neurologic symptoms.

I'm one of those patients. Some of the old timers might remember I had a stroke in may 06. MRI can miss stroke--it all comes down to timing and doing the correct MR series w/&without contrast, and the type of stroke. If you have a thrombolytic vs. embolytic stroke. In my case, a clot caused an ischemic event and has caused tons of problems.

If there is permanent damage to a structure in the brain, MR will help. If you have a clot and it blocks flow long enough to cause damage, and it is dissolved it will not show.

It can be tough to distinguish a stroke from a migraine. A mega clue is that you have leftovers from the event months or years after your first and worst symptoms.

The best thing to do if you feel that you are having signs of a stroke, get your arsch into the ER. A good ER will not mess around.

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Post  Chinookgrl on Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:06 pm

I often wonder about this subject to and went into the hospital last Friday with concerns. I had been having constant pain in the 7-10 range for over 3 days. Totally dehydrated and not able to keep any medication down at all. My hubby being the fabulous concerned one got online and read that I should go to ER with constant pain lasting longer than 3 days.

I having a history of some poor treatment at ER (as I'm sure you all have) hesitated but went anyways. As soon as they heard that 3 day timeframe, I was taken in and treated almost immediately. In the Canadian ER system that is amazing for a migraineur. They mentioned the risk of stroke and checked that I hadn't had one. (I was presenting with some neurological abnormalities, slurred words, trouble focusing etc.)

It is definitely a concern in some of the medical community judging by this ER's reaction.

Jo
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Post  Brent on Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:36 pm

estre004 wrote:I've also read about the lesions. It didn't take this information for me to come to the conclusion that migraines are serious. How can that extreme of pain on the brain NOT be serious!

That was always my concern to when a big one hit. What kind of long term damage is happening. At what point will you "blow a gasket" and either die or become comatose.
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Post  Stillhurtin on Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:36 pm

Brent wrote:I wonder how many mig patients die from stroke because they just assume the pain is a mig? Anyone else would know immediately something was wrong and get help.

This worries me often! Dont want to be a ER hog, but don't want to ignore anything that could potentially be seriouse. How do we know when?? Sooo scary!

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Post  Shiela Stewart on Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:56 pm

I suffered a mild stroke when I was 17 but I didn't find out that it was a stroke until I had an MRI in my late thirties. At the time, I woke from a nap which I took because my head was killing me and was paralized, couldn't speak, nothing. My boyfriend (now hubby) was over and when he came to check on me, saw I couldnt move or talk. He took me to the hospital but by the time I got to the hospital I could speak and was able to move most of my body with help. At the time, they thought it was a pinched nerve in my neck, gave me some muscle relaxants and sent me home. Imagine my surprise years later to find out it was a stroke which the doctor determined had probably been due to my migraines. I'm very careful now with my headaches and showing signs of stroke but thank god I haven't had another one since.
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Post  Brent on Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:00 am

My wife is a paramedic and she has seen far too many brain bleeds and strokes in younger people. Every time I had a "monster" I had to fend her off from dragging me to the ER. But I also knew that if they got any worse it could b too late to get help.

Shiela, that's very disturbing that the ER missed the fact you had a stroke. There are so many signs and tests that can be done even after the major symptoms are gone to show a stroke did happen. That is not something that you bounce back from in few minutes. You are fortunate it wasn't any worse. Back when I worked in EMS I also saw so many people with CVA's that had no history or mechanism. Scary stuff for sure.
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Post  Shiela Stewart on Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:57 am

Shiela, that's very disturbing that the ER missed the fact you had a stroke. There are so many signs and tests that can be done even after the major symptoms are gone to show a stroke did happen. That is not something that you bounce back from in few minutes. You are fortunate it wasn't any worse. Back when I worked in EMS I also saw so many people with CVA's that had no history or mechanism. Scary stuff for sure.

Brent,

This was over 20 years ago that this happened to me so testing wasn't as good as it is now. I am fortunate it wasn't worse but I did suffer side effects from it. And this is one of the reasons i distrust doctors. For years I've been questioned about my crooked smile, the weakness in my left arm, face, leg etc but no doctor has ever looked into it. Even when I talk about my incident when I was 17 they've done nothing. It wasn't until I saw a migraine specialist who said he suspected I'd had a stroke at some time in my life. He did the MRI and that was when it was determined.

When I went to the ER at the age of 17 when it happened, I thought it was just my neck and that I had slept on it funny. I'd been undergoing chiropractic massage for a neck injury I sustained at 14. So I told the doctors that and they did no tests whatsoever and took me at my word. Even my boyfriend/hubby questioned them on it and said I couldnt speak or move any part of my body including walk. That wasn't normal if it was a pinched nerve in my neck, they sluffed it off. We were both 17, what did we know. I had to take several days off from work because I was having trouble walking, and using my left arm. When I look back at it now, I can see the signs as a stroke, and that is why I am so careful with my migraines and signs now.
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Post  Brent on Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:08 am

That sucks to hear. IMHO I think it's very smart to distrust doctors. My wife and I are both living examples of listening to your gut and doing some research. I am glad that at least it wasn't any worse.
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Post  Shiela Stewart on Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:12 am

I am glad that at least it wasn't any worse.

You and me both, Brent.
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Post  moominamy on Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:11 pm

Wow Sheila, that's shocking to read. Glad you are ok and it wasn't more serious.

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Post  Brent on Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:58 pm

I had a friend that only 52 and was watching TV and had a massive headache hit. In twenty minutes she was dead. She was a smoker but the last thing she worried about when she got up that morning was suddenly dieing in her recliner that day.

That and other head bleeds I have seen makes me take careful stock and listen to my symptoms each time the monster strikes.
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Post  thegirlwithbrowneyes on Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:33 pm

I had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) which is a stroke varient in 2008. The doctors say it was caused by a severe Migraine. It is truly scary that the migraines can lead to a full on stroke.
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Post  Hal on Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:41 pm

Mild stroke, just a few minutes of slurred speach and then everything seemed ok. MRI shows the results of a brain storm. Also have the little holes associated with M and it took three years for SSDI to be awarded? What a joke.

By the way, bad M today, all day, still there.

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