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My Mother/Myself: Migraine Headaches are Hereditary
Date:4/23/2009

Experts urge sufferers to break the cycle of suffering

'Migraine Million' fundraiser honors one-in-a-million moms

CHICAGO, April 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The mother/daughter relationship can give some women headaches -- literally. Yet, on Mother's Day we choose to put that aside and bring flowers.

This Mother's Day, the National Headache Foundation is suggesting that women discuss the subject head-on. If women pay more attention to the triggers, patterns and symptoms of their own headaches -- including how they may mirror moms' -- they can use the information to get better care.

If one parent has migraines, children have a 50 percent chance of also having them. If both parents have migraines, the chance for a child to be predisposed climbs to 75 percent. Even if a distant relative has migraine headaches, a 20 percent chance exists that any offspring will be prone.

When mom describes one-sided, throbbing and pulsating head pain, accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise in various combinations, she probably has or had migraines. And, if mom had headaches around her period, she probably had menstrual migraine, which is related to changes in the levels of the female hormone estrogen during a woman's menstrual cycle.

Experts urge sufferers to break the cycle of suffering and get the help not available a generation ago

Merle Diamond, M.D., associate director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago and member of the National Headache Foundation Board of Directors, knows first-hand the effects of hereditary migraines. She is a migraine sufferer as are her four children and husband.

Dr. Diamond says that while our parents may have suffered through the pain, today we don't have to. "Compared to just a generation ago, we know so much more about how to care for migraines. But because headaches are so personal and different for everyone, it is important that sufferers really get to know their symptoms, patterns, and triggers to get the best care."

"Migraine Million" fundraiser honors one-in-a-million moms

The NHF is raising awareness about the toll headaches take on the sufferer, their families, employers, and the healthcare system, and encouraging people to take and get better care.

Because education takes money, the organization has launched a new fundraiser called the "Migraine Million" campaign.

"Our goal is for one million of the nearly 30 million people with migraine to donate $1 each toward headache education and research," said Suzanne Simons, executive director of the NHF. "By donating, people can show their mom she's one in a million and that they take her headaches seriously."

People can make a donation by visiting the NHF website at www.headaches.org or by calling the NHF at 1-888-NHF-5552. They will receive an acknowledgement of the donation that can be emailed to mom, or printed and included in a card.


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SOURCE National Headache Foundation
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