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Can Migraines be Genetic?

Posted by Migraine Relief Center on Dec 20, 2013 7:00:00 AM

If you have a parent who suffers from migraines, then research indicates that you may be more prone to experience migraines at least once in your lifetime. There are many factors that contribute to migraines, and genetics is only one of them. By knowing your family’s migraine history, you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to combat these painful migrainesGenetic_Migraines

The Genetic Link

Migraines are severe headaches that usually cause pain on one side of the head. Some migraine patients report auras before the pain strikes, which may result in temporary difficulties with speech or visual disturbances. Other migraine symptoms include vomiting and nausea, as well as sensitivity to scents, sights and sounds. In order to determine the likelihood that you will have migraines and the type of headache you suffer from, you can examine your family history. Scientists believe that four out of five migraine sufferers have a relative who also gets migraine attacks. If one of your parents has suffered from migraines, then you have a 50% chance of also getting them. If both sides of your family have members who suffered from migraine attacks, then your chances increase to 75%. 

Are Migraines Always Genetic?

While having a family member with migraines increases your risk for severe headaches, it does not mean that you are destined to experience migraine pain. The only exception is in the case of familial hemiplegic migraines, which are directly linked to a genetic mutation. Scientists have not discovered a genetic link for other types of migraines, but they are looking for genetic abnormalities that may cause migraines to be passed on from one generation to the next.

Know Your Family History

If you know that someone in your family suffers from migraines, then you may want to prepare yourself for migraines in case you get one someday. If possible, talk to your relative to find out more about her migraines. You should gather information about the environmental factors that trigger her headaches, as well as where the pain is usually located and how long the migraines last. You may also want to ask her about the techniques and treatments that she uses to alleviate her pain because the same treatments may benefit you if you ever suffer from a migraine attack.

Scientists have not found a specific gene or abnormality that causes migraines to be passed down through the family, but they do believe that many migraine sufferers have relatives who have also had migraine attacks. You can use your family’s migraine history to help you determine the likelihood that you will have a migraine, and you may be able to use some of that information to help you treat any migraines that you experience.

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Topics: Causes

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