Writer: Aditi Bang
Migraines, the third leading illness globally, affects 1 billion people, but there is no official cure. Over 35 million Americans suffer migraines, but only 5% have been diagnosed and received the necessary care. A common misconception is that a migraine is just a “severe headache”. However, a headache and migraine are two different things. A migraine is “a neurological disease that involves nerve pathways and chemicals” (“Migraine vs. Headache: How to Tell the Difference – Penn Medicine”). There are some methods to manage the pain; however, there is no firm way to diagnose or treat a migraine.
It is vital that migraineurs monitor their lifestyle and identify triggers to prevent a migraine. These signs can unveil a pattern to preventative tools; triggers vary from person to person(“Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them | AMF”). Stress is a common trigger for more than half of migraineurs. Sleep rebuilds and rehabilitates our body and boosts our energy so a person having a constant, irregular sleep schedule is more likely to suffer from migraine attacks. 50% of attacks occur between 4:00 AM and 9:00 AM, placing a person at a higher chance at sleeping disorder (“Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them | AMF”). Women tend to see migraines near the time of their menstrual cycle changes in a women’s estrogen level during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can induce migraines. Migraineurs report having migraines after caffeine consumption. People endure many more symptoms; these are just some of them!
Observing signs and triggers can be extremely beneficial and prevent migraine attacks accompanied by unbearable pain. My proposed solution is simple, but very much needed for a migraineur managing a busy schedule with exhausting migraines. My solution is targeted into lifestyle management and pinpointing the triggers to prevent pain. This could be in the form of a watch that tracks your migraine pattern to better predict migraines and concoct a plan to fight them. Combining physician’s guidance with using this detector watch could really alleviate the burden for millions.
This watch could include multiple functions: trigger monitoring, menstrual cycle tracker, sleep schedule recorder, food diary, medicine reminders, and much more! As stated previously, stress is a significant factor in provoking migraines; a migraineur could make a list of all things that induce migraines. The watch could suggest simple strategies such as mediation and exercise to counteract with stress and constantly remind the person to implement the strategies! These strategies can “change your body’s physiological response to stress and thus reduce the ability for stress to trigger a migraine attack” (“Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them | AMF”). Women are three times more likely to undergo migraines, and three- quarters report having an attack around their menstrual cycle. Changing diet and lifestyle can tremendously decrease pain, but it is important to talk with your gynecologist for birth control options. The watch’s user could mark the calendar to mark when they got their period, and during the next month, the watch could automatically start sending reminders.
Sleep is extremely crucial to us, physically and mentally; the watch can track how long the migraineur slept, and when they woke up in the night. A certain amount of movements indicates that the person is awake. For example, if he or she is still for one hour, the watch will strongly assume they are asleep by confirming with additional data such as tosses and turns. If someone keeps waking up at 3:00 AM to 5:00 AM due to throbbing pain, a physician can take note of this, and find prevention tactics and/or medications to lessen the risk for sleeping disorders. For some people, there are some food items that create unease and trigger a migraine attack; some of these items include foods including histamine and MSG, dairy products, caffeine, and some with strong smells (“Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them | AMF”). In the watch, the migraineur could list what he or she eats every meal with any ingredients being sensitive to the migraineur. The watch can alert the migraineur that they have had enough of the item and should restrict it to prevent a migraine. These are just some of the functions of my proposed solution; for example, the watch can also monitor fluid intake. More than ¼ of migraineurs say that dehydration is a major trigger; by tracking how many glasses of water one drinks and if it is less, they can easily stop an oncoming migraine by drinking some water. Many people forget to take their medications on time so the migraineur can input their medicine routine, and the watch will be attentive to the medication types and time.
My proposed solution is simple but strategic in alerting and providing techniques to help a migraineur overcome their attack. Implementing these strategies and inputting data about the migraineur can guide both the sufferer and physician about different triggers. Physicians and headache specialists can use the watch’s data to confirm if the patient has been taking medications and implementing additional strategies to decrease migraine frequency and severity; this information can be beneficial to come up with an effective preventative therapy plan and important to make any adjustments in medications or tactics.
The author does a great job of describing the expansive nature of migraines and how there are no current solutions to counteract migraines. She explains the significance of this issue by describing important statistics. She illustrates how people do not even get diagnosed or treated so she tries to find a solution for that. By highlighting the common triggers, she provides the reader with background information to understand her concept. The author’s solution is mainly about providing the migraineur and physician more information about the migraine’s pattern and triggers through a watch that detects and monitors the patient’s actions. She could have improved this writing by expanding on the mechanics of the watch. However, she does fantastic work about explaining triggers and ways the watch will detect it. Overall, the writer conveys her solution properly by describing the necessary background informative with her innovative idea!
“Migraine vs. Headache: How to Tell the Difference – Penn Medicine.” Penn Medicine, 1 Nov. 2019, www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/november/migraines-vs-headaches.
“Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them | AMF.” American Migraine Foundation, 10 July 2020, americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/top-10-migraine-triggers.