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Migraines – not just a pain in the head!

If you have been a migraineur (that’s a very fancy way of saying migraine sufferer!) for any length of time, you may relate to statements such as; “I can predict the weather better than the weather channel by the onset of a migraine.” Or perhaps you develop a slight tick or start to glitch when you overhear someone calling their headache a migraine!  

It may bring you a little comfort to know that “you are not alone”. The World Health Organization (WHO), places migraines as one of the 10 most debilitating medical illnesses on earth! Migraine affects over 37million men, women, and children in the USA. It is estimated that up to 148 million people in the world suffer from chronic migraine. Colic in infants is thought to be the earliest sign of migraine attack and approximately 10% of children experience migraine.  

What is the difference between a headache and a migraine? 

Headaches can be a symptom of an illness whilst migraines are the illness of which headache is only one of the symptoms. Along with the severe head pain, migraine sufferers often experience nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and sensitivity to light, sound, or even smells.  

Common headache types are tension-, sinus- and cluster- headaches.   

Are migraines a genetic condition?  

Statistics show that if one parent suffers, their children have a 50% chance of having migraines too. If both parents suffer from migraine, that predisposition rises to 75%. 

How would my genes impact migraines? 

Both genetics and your environment play a role in the development of migraines, knowing your genes will help you to decide how best to go about personalizing YOUR prevention and/or treatment of migraines. Genes related to inflammation, our ability to safely remove toxins and oxidative damage (think of this as a rusting within the cells and systems of your body) have all been shown to contribute to the development of migraines and the pain associated with them. Add to the mix genes connected to a poor ability to breakdown histamine, contributing to increased inflammation and genes impacting your manufacture and breakdown of hormones and you have a cauldron loaded with a migraine causing cocktail that makes a “mosh pit” look like a Sunday lunch Soiree. 

Will knowing my genes help me manage migraines? 

YES ABSOLUTELY! Alterations or changes in your genes known as SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) may affect how well you manage inflammation, detoxification, oxidation, histamine breakdown, blood sugar regulation, and balance your hormones as well as how you make brain chemicals. Knowing where these SNPs are most prevalent gives you insight into how your genes may be contributing to your migraine potential. When we know the source, we can personalize your treatment interventions. No more one size fits all protocols that work for some and not for others!  

The 3X4 Genetics Blueprint looks at key areas of health management, including cellular and systems processes that influence the potential for migraine. These key insights can help you to identify which foods and lifestyle habits are most important for you to implement, based on your unique gene story!