Guest blogger, Jennifer K. Engle
Migraines are a real pain for many women — me, included. I’ve suffered from them since I was young. Auras; excruciating, throbbing pain; nausea; sensitivity to light; chills; and difficulty concentrating are just a few of the fun symptoms and side effects. Worst of all, I seldom know when one will strike, leaving me unable to work, spend time with my family or simply enjoy a normal day.
Luckily, several years ago, my doctor prescribed medication that helps minimize the pain and other symptoms so I can function instead of running for a dark room. (In dire cases at work, I’ve been known to sit in dark closets or don sunglasses.) Sadly, fewer than half of the millions of migraine sufferers, three quarters of whom are women, are properly diagnosed. What’s more, many don’t know medications are available that can help manage this chronic health condition.
June is National Migraine Awareness Month, and I’m volunteering with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) to tell my story about this illness, which causes $13 billion in losses annually due to 157 million lost work days. Its impact goes well beyond the “bad headache” most people believe it to be. In fact, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, every 10 seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to the emergency room with a headache or migraine. Yet the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the major source of governmental research funding in the U.S., spent only $16 million on migraine research last year, compared with $152 million on epilepsy.
If you think you have migraine headaches and have not been diagnosed, or if you have been diagnosed and don’t know about the medications available, talk to your doctor or search for treatments yourself. In order to provide effective treatment, it’s critical that migraines be tracked and treated. The National Headache Foundation is also a resource for your research.
Consultant, speaker and workshop leader Jennifer K. Engle is the founder of jke marketing and communications. Jennifer was named among Central Pennsylvania’s Top 25 Women of Influence for 2011.
Photo: Flickr – Naturalhomecures34