Disease: Migraine with aura


    Migraine with aura (also called classic migraine) is a headache that strikes after or along with sensory disturbances called aura. These disturbances can include flashes of light, blind spots and other vision changes or tingling in your hand or face.

    Treatments for migraine with aura and migraine without aura (also called common migraine) are usually the same. You can try to prevent migraine with aura with the same medications and self-care measures used to prevent migraine.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Migraine aura symptoms include temporary visual or sensory disturbances that usually strike before other migraine symptoms — such as intense head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

    Migraine aura usually occurs within an hour before head pain begins and generally lasts less than 60 minutes. Sometimes migraine aura occurs with little or no headache, especially in people age 50 and older.

    Visual signs and symptoms

    Most people who experience migraine with aura develop temporary visual signs and symptoms of aura. These may include:

    • Blind spots (scotomas), which are sometimes outlined by simple geometric designs
    • Zigzag lines that gradually float across your field of vision
    • Shimmering spots or stars
    • Changes in vision or vision loss
    • Flashes of light

    These types of visual disturbances tend to start in the center of your field of vision and spread outward.

    Other sensory disturbances

    Other temporary sensations sometimes associated with migraine aura include:

    • Feelings of numbness, typically felt as tingling in one hand or in your face
    • Difficulty with speech or language
    • Muscle weakness

    When to see a doctor

    See your doctor immediately if you experience the signs and symptoms of migraine with aura, such as temporary vision loss or floating spots or zigzag lines in your field of vision. Your doctor will need to rule out more-serious conditions, such as a stroke or retinal tear.

    Once these conditions are ruled out, you won't need to see your doctor about future migraines unless your symptoms change.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    The cause of migraine with aura isn't clearly understood. It's believed that the migraine with visual aura is like an electrical or chemical wave that moves across the part of your brain that processes visual signals (visual cortex) and causes these visual hallucinations.

    Many of the same factors that trigger migraine can also trigger migraine with aura, including stress, bright lights, some foods and medications, too much or too little sleep, and menstruation.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    If you experience signs and symptoms of aura followed by typical signs and symptoms of migraine, it's likely you have migraine with aura. Your doctor may diagnose the condition on the basis of your medical history and a physical exam.

    But if your aura isn't followed by head pain, or the visual disturbances affect only one eye, your doctor may recommend certain tests to rule out more-serious conditions, such as a retinal tear or a transient ischemic attack — a temporary decrease in blood supply to part of your brain — that could be causing your symptoms.

    Your doctor may recommend:

    • An eye examination. During this exam, your doctor will use an instrument the size of a small flashlight (ophthalmoscope) to project a beam of light into your eye to examine the back of your eyeball (funduscopy).
    • Computerized tomography (CT). This X-ray technique produces detailed images of your internal organs, including your brain.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This diagnostic imaging procedure produces images of your internal organs, including your brain.

    Your doctor may also refer you to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist) to rule out brain conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    People who have migraine with aura are at a slightly higher risk of stroke. Women who have migraine with aura appear to have an even higher risk of stroke if they smoke or take birth control pills.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Risk factors

    Although no specific factors appear to increase the risk of migraine with aura, migraines in general seem to be more common in people with a family history of migraine. Migraines are also more common in women than men.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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