medical IDs for migraines

Medical IDs for Migraines

The confidence to live with migraines

Living with migraines is a challenge that many people are all too familiar with. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that 39 million Americans have migraine headaches, a number that is probably higher because many people do not seek diagnosis or treatment.

Migraines are more complex than the average headache most people have experienced. They can cause severe symptoms and disrupt daily life. According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Depending on the person, they can happen rarely, or multiple times a month. The causes of migraine are not fully understood, but because they are based in the brain, they are treated by a neurologist.

Medical IDs for migraines play an important role in providing extra safety for those living with this condition.

How MedicAlert protects those with migraines

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s a medical emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with migraines, their families and caregivers.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Pair a medical ID for migraines with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What is a migraine?

Migraines are considered a neurological disorder. They cause several disruptive symptoms including a severe, throbbing headache that may start on one side of a person’s head. The discomfort caused by migraines can be significant– for example, preventing people from going to work or school during an attack. According to the Cleveland Clinic, migraines are the 6th most disabling disease in the world. There are eight types of migraine:

  • Complicated migraines (migraine with aura)
  • Common migraines (migraine without aura)
  • Silent migraine (migraine without head pain)
  • Hemiplegic migraine
  • Ocular migraine (retinal migraine)
  • Chronic migraine
  • Migraine with brainstem aura
  • Status migrainosus

Migraines can happen at any age. Around 10% of children between the ages of 5-15 and 28% of teens have migraines. Among adults, 18% of women and 6% of men may experience migraines.

People who live with migraines may notice four distinct stages of migraines when they happen. Following is the breakdown of these four stages, with about 30% of people experiencing symptoms before a migraine starts:

  • Prodrome– also known as the pre-headache or premonitory phase, this stage can last anywhere from a few hours to days, and may not happen with each migraine. During this stage, people may have subtle migraine warning signs, such as frequent yawning, mood changes, neck stiffness, fluid retention, food cravings, constipation, and frequent urination.
  • Aura– this is a collection of warning symptoms that a migraine is about to start. It can last for 5-60 minutes, or may sometimes happen at the same time as the headache. Only 15-20% of people experience aura. Symptoms include seeing spots, sparkles, or wavy lines in your vision, having blind spots or temporary vision loss, ringing in the ears, speech changes, numb or tingling skin, changes in smell or taste, and having a “funny” feeling.
  • Headache– when a migraine starts, the headache pain can last from 4-72 hours. It may be mild, but usually, it is severe, starting on one side of the head, and possibly spreading to the other. Migraine headaches are often described as “throbbing,” “drilling,” or “like an ice pick.”

  • Postdrome– this stage is experienced by as many as 80% of people and is sometimes called a “migraine hangover.” It can last for a day or two.

Being a MedicAlert member is very worthwhile. If you have any allergies, diabetes, or just simply take any medication - you should have a MedicAlert ID. It is the best way to go. I am very happy with my MedicAlert ID and membership plan.

Linda Smethers, MedicAlert member

What causes migraines?

The causes of migraines are not fully understood. Genetics, gender, and environment can all play a role. For example, three times as many women as men have migraines, and migraines tend to run in families.

It is thought that chemical triggers in the brain, such as serotonin (which helps brain cells communicate), affect the development of migraines. Both serotonin and estrogen can impact blood vessels in the brain and sensitivity to pain. The way these chemicals cause blood vessels to expand and contract may play a role in migraines. More research is needed to clearly define the full underlying cause of migraines.

There are common triggers of migraine symptoms that have been identified. These include:

  • Stress
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Changes in the weather, like barometric pressure shifts
  • Dehydration
  • Eating known food triggers like chocolate, artificial sweeteners, MSG, dairy products, and foods containing histamine
  • Bright lights, including daylight and fluorescent lights
  • Strong odors, like perfumes, gasoline, or other chemicals
  • Hormones- for women who experience migraine, hormone fluctuations around their period can be a trigger
  • Medication overuse (taking medication for pain, or prescribed migraine medications, too often)

What to engrave on your MedicAlert ID for migraines:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. The engraving on medical IDs for migraines should include the critical medical information that first responders need to know in an accident or emergency.

The best things to engrave on medical IDs for migraines include:

  • Your medical history, including a history of migraines
  • Any medications you take
  • Allergies
  • Any other details that are important for first responders to know
medical IDs for migraines

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for migraines.

What are the symptoms and complications of migraines?

Along with the symptoms of aura described above, migraines cause a variety of symptoms beyond just a severe headache. Some other symptoms of migraine include:

  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Chills and/or sweating
  • Increased urination

Migraines have also been connected to a serious health complication: stroke. People who have migraine with aura have double the risk of having a stroke and should be aware of warning signs, such as weakness in the limbs or face, confusion, speech difficulty, and a sudden, severe “thunderclap” headache.

Migraines can also trigger seizures in people who also have epilepsy. And status migrainosus, a type of migraine that lasts longer than 72 hours, can require hospitalization to stop the migraine attack.

How do you diagnose migraines?

To diagnose migraines, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your history of headaches and whether there is a family history of migraines. It can be helpful to keep a diary of your headaches, symptoms, and duration of problems when you have them. You can show this to your doctor to help them diagnose migraines.

There is no specific test for migraines, but your doctor may order tests to rule out other medical problems that could be causing your symptoms. These may include blood tests, imaging such as CT scans or MRIs, or a spinal (lumbar) tap. Your doctor might also order an electroencephalogram (EEG) to rule out underlying seizures.  

How do you treat, manage, and live with migraines?

Although there is no cure for migraines, they can be treated, and you can take steps to reduce their frequency.

Medication management for migraines includes two approaches: abortive and preventive medication:

  • Abortive medications are taken at the first sign of migraine to either stop or decrease migraine symptoms.
  • Preventive medications may be prescribed for people with frequent migraine headaches, and are taken daily to try to reduce the frequency of the migraines.

Lifestyle approaches can also help treat and manage migraines. This includes keeping a regular sleep schedule, getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night, eating regular meals and avoiding food triggers, staying hydrated, and managing stress with strategies like meditation and yoga.

For people with this condition, wearing MedicAlert medical IDs for migraines is extra peace of mind in case of emergencies that could arise due to a migraine attack or complications. Having a globally recognized MedicAlert ID and Protection Plan means that first responders have quick access to your medical history, medications, allergies, and more, even if you’re not able to share these details in an emergency.

How a  medical ID  for migraines combined with MedicAlert  Membership provides peace of mind

Because migraines can be disabling when they happen, it’s important to develop a strategy for managing attacks. Your doctor can help recommend ways to manage migraines, including taking medications and knowing the warning signs of more serious problems, like stroke.

Anyone with a chronic medical condition like migraines can benefit from wearing a medical ID. An easily recognized ID like the choices available from MedicAlert can help first responders understand your medical history quickly in an emergency. This means you’ll get the best treatment during a crisis where every second counts.

  • Be your voice: If you can’t speak for yourself, your ID will speak for you, informing others about your migraines and any medications you are taking.

  • Provide 24/7 emergency protection: Our team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders in an emergency, no matter where or when it happens.

  • Keep you connected: You should never be alone in an emergency, that’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your emergency contacts when needed if you are unable to do so.

  • Enable you to live with confidence: The freedom to live your life with migraines, knowing that MedicAlert is there for you.
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.