Six out of 10 Belgian migraine sufferers know little or nothing of what provokes their migraines; 56% even indicate they are taken by surprise by the attacks, and 56% say they cannot control them. “It is not surprising therefore to learn that 81% of these patients would like to know the exact cause of their migraines,” the communication said.
The Week’s Ambassador and migraine sufferer Evy Gruyaert said: “What is annoying with migraines is that there are many triggers, so you never know 100% what caused a migraine attack. Was it the piece of cheese I just ate, the day’s heavy workload and the stress that goes with it, the powerful scent on the man next to me in the meeting room, the change of weather or the bright sunlight that was reflected this morning on my car windshield?”
With the slogan “migraine triggers are sometimes surprising,” the Migraine Week 2019 aims to raise awareness.
The most frequently mentioned triggers, according to statistics, are stress (54%), a change in the rhythm of sleep (42%) and bright light (26%). Visual triggers such as prolonged use of screens (21%) and twinkling lights (20%) complete the top 5. Keeping in mind that women are generally more sensitive than men.
The study also showed that hunger and thirst are a common trigger, especially among young people. “We often expect alcohol to cause migraines, yet only 19% of respondents report having a migraine after its consumption. For women, the hormonal cycle is a trigger in 36% of cases, and 16 % indicate this as one of the main causes of migraine,” the statement said.
Finally, caffeine (8%) and food (15%) such as chocolate, cheese, manufactured food containing aspartame or other artificial sweeteners are also regularly quoted by those surveyed.
According to UCL Namur-Dinant Hospital neurologist Dr Gianni Franco: “It is essential for migraine sufferers to reveal their chronic disease and what triggers their migraine attacks, but the fear of not being believed is still too often present… people often think that migraine sufferers are looking for excuses.”
Finally, a very worrisome point is that a fifth of Belgian migraine sufferers stress that they cannot enjoy life because of their migraines that prevent them from undertaking many activities, the report concluded.
Migraine Awareness Week will take place from 13 to 18 May 2019. Information brochures and sleep masks will be distributed in pharmacies on this occasion.