Know Your Pain

Hemiplegic Migraine- A Result of Genetic Neurological Disorder

Hemiplegic Migraine is yet another example of migraine disease. Just like all other types of migraines, this one too is a result of genetic neurological disorder. However, what makes it unique is the fact that it is quite rare amongst patients of migraine and is dangerous.

Types of Hemiplegic Migraine
Hemiplegic Migraine is of two types: Familial Hemiplegic Migraine (FHM) and Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine (SHM). Both of them commence during childhood and almost fade away by the time people reach adulthood. While being almost similar, the two are still unique. This is because FHM has a presence in the family genes; it has been linked with the mutation of genes on chromosomes 1 and 19. SHM is exactly similar to FHM but without any family history. It is an individual occurrence.

Diagnosis of Hemiplegic Migraine
Well, diagnosis of Hemiplegic Migraine is somewhat difficult. That is because its symptoms are quite similar to a vascular disease. Unless a full review of the patient's medical history (along with his/her family's medical history, if its the FHM type) as well as his/her neurological diagnosis is done, the symptoms can be also mistaken as those of epilepsy, stroke or similar other medical complications.

Warning signs of SHM and FHM
The symptoms of FHM and SHM are almost the same. However, those who suffer from either of the two types of Hemiplegic Migraine will have rather different experiences. The symptoms of the two are as follows:

* Ataxia (which is faulty muscle coordination)
* Fever
* Headache (this can be either absent or may begin before hemiplegia)
* Hemiplegia (immobilization of either side of the body)
* Impaired consciousness (which ranges from confusion to profound coma)
* Meningismus (only signs of meningitis without the illness itself and the accompanying inflammation)
* Nausea and/or vomiting
* Phases of prolonged aura (up to several days or weeks)
* Photophobia and/or phonophobia

Method of Treatment
Because of the innumerable symptoms, the treatment of hemiplegic migraine can be a bit challenging. Medical help is an absolute must in case of Hemiplegic Migraine. Further, it is also necessary that those who suffer from Hemiplegic migraine educate themselves in the symptoms and treatment of the problem.

Temporary relief treatment
Ergotamines and triptans were two migraine specific medications which could be used for getting relief from Hemiplegic Migraine. However, their use was discontinued after it was found out that they could cause stroke. Since then medications like antiemetics, NSAID and narcotic analgesics are used for suppressing the pain.

Preventive treatment
In case of FHM, wherein the root cause of the headache lies in the faulty mutation of genes on chromosome 1 and 19 (which regulate the influx and outflux of calcium in cells) calcium channel blockers are used to prevent the disease.