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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Migraine with Aura
      Category : Health Centers > Headache

Migraine with Aura

Alternate Names : Classical Migraine, Classic Migraine

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

A migraine is a moderate-to-severe headache affecting one or both sides of the head. An aura is an abnormal sensation which warns that a migraine is coming on.

What is going on in the body?

A migraine begins when cells in the central part of the brain become oversensitive to stimulation. The reason this happens is not known. A migraine trigger causes these cells to suddenly begin firing electrical impulses. This causes a chain reaction inside the brain. The impulses travel through the brain in a wave, similar to the way ripples spread across the water when a stone is thrown into a pond. This spreading electrical impulse causes the release of serotonin and other brain chemicals.

Serotonin causes changes in blood flow to the brain. When an impulse reaches the outermost part of the brain, it triggers the release of substance P and other chemicals. These chemicals contribute to the pain, inflammation, and increased sensitivity. The result is the throbbing pain you feel.

What are the causes and risks of the disease?

A migraine occurs when cells in the center of the brain become overly sensitive to stimulation. Factors that may trigger a migraine include the following:

  • alcohol
  • certain foods, including chocolate and some cheeses
  • change in hormone levels
  • fatigue
  • food additives
  • foods containing tyramine, such as red wine and organ meats
  • light or noise
  • too much or too little sleep
  • weather changes


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    Migraine with Aura: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Michael Curiel, MD
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 05/07/01

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