A migraine causes paroxysmal unilateral headaches accompanied by vomiting. Complex biochemical changes, for instance, an increased amount of serotonin and prostaglandin in the blood plasma, provoke a short spasm of the intracranial vessels followed by a continuous expansion of the extracranial arteries.
The spasm is the foundation of photopsia and other focal symptoms. Besides, the expansion of the vessels is the direct cause of headaches. In the case of a classical, the migraine attack begins with a transient (sometimes ophthalmic) scotoma. As a result, patients feel the pain often in the head at large.
Nausea and vomiting usually accompany the pain. The attack lasts several hours. Unlike a classical, ordinary migraine has no visual aura. It features a diffuse pain that arises in the morning and lasts several days. Rest provokes cephalalgia (a headache at the weekend). This illness variant is characteristic of women suffering from overweight.
Cases, during which the attack is accompanied by hemiplegia, aphasia, ophthalmoplegia, are known as associated migraine. Frequency and seriousness of Migraine attacks vary greatly: 50 per cent of patients have attacks less than once per week. A migraine is a widespread disease affecting 5-10 per cent of the population. The condition usually begins during the period of adolescence or, though less often, during childhood.