When people think of migraines, the symptoms of migraine aura are most often the migraine symptoms that come to mind. These symptoms, which include seeing flashing lights and feeling tingling, typically set migraines apart from other types of headaches.
All migraines fall into two main classifications: migraine with aura and migraine without aura.
Migraine aura impacts about 10 million migraine sufferers in the U.S. and refers to the range of symptoms that strike before the head pain begins. The migraine aura symptoms include vision changes, changes in the other senses and other symptoms.
For the one-third of sufferers who experience migraine aura, the aura symptoms don’t always occur with each and every attack. Others may experience migraine aura without the head pain phase of an attack.
Migraine aura diagnosis requires:
- Two or more attacks that include neurological disturbances, such as changes in vision or other senses
- Aura attacks usually come on gradually and last five minutes to an hour and completely go away, therefore there are no aura symptoms between attacks
- The symptoms are not caused by another disorder
In many older patients who suffered from attacks in their younger years find that the head pain begins to go away. However, often the aura symptoms remain. If the aura symptoms begin for the first time after age 40, doctors become more concerned because the symptoms could be caused by a more serious disorder and other possible diagnoses must be ruled out.
The different types of migraine aura include:
As with all types of migraines, sufferers should keep a migraine journal. This diary or log should contain every detail about each migraine attack, including what you were during prior to the attack, what symptoms you experienced, how long the symptoms last and the intensity of the symptoms. This migraine journal will help your doctor diagnose migraines and identify your triggers list.