June is National Migraine Awareness Month. The Headache and Migraine Disease Blog Carnival theme is to write about your favorite post from your blog during the past month. But I’d like to talk about Migraine Awareness Month, if that's ok with you?
There are more great blog entries this month you take a look at by clicking Favorite Migraine Posts: June 2011 Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival.
The National Headache Foundation (NHF) is starting a new program called “More Than Just a Headache,” which will help educate people regarding the social, personal and economic costs Migraine has on Americans. You can find interesting interviews with celebrities, a toll free hot-line, learning modules and how to find a support group near you. For more resources and information look at National Migraine Awareness Month Events.
As we try to stay mindfully Migraine free and aware this month, thnk about a few of these facts:
- There are only 290 board-certified United Council Neurology Subspecialties (UCNS) doctors in the United Stated trained in Headache Medicine.
- Migraine increases the risk of cardiovascular disease which is linked to > 1500 deaths per year.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) states that Migraine causes more lost years of healthy life in the United State per year than multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ovarian cancer and tuberculosis COMBINED. The NIH funds these four diseases > 45 times than that for Migraine. In 2010 this total was $684 million dollars vs. $15 million dollars.
- 37% of Iraq/Afghanistan servicemen and 57% of servicewomen report that they have ongoing Migraine pain since being sent home after sustaining some type of concussive injury and if there was a report of Migraine before going to Iraq/Afghanistan.
As I may have said before, and please indulge me again, if we don't understand our disease, no one else will either. Education is the way to go. Patients, doctors, families, friends, our elected officials, children, teachers, professors, parents, employers and anyone else who will listen, need to understand that Migraine is so much more than a headache. In fact you can have a Migraine without a headache! Migraine is a neurological genetic disease. Migraine can be chronic (all the time) or episodic (ever so often) but a disease that needs to be managed similar to diabetes, ms or epilepsy.
Ok, education is imperative. But what about some of the people who don't "buy" Migraine disease? I guess we have some choices to make. We can happily pass on any information regarding Migraine disease to people who are willing to listen, and certainly give this information to those closest to us. Or we can keep quite never get anywhere. But here’s the thing – it is time to talk to each other, talk to our doctors, learn about our disease and educate those around us. We’ve been quite for so long because all we ever heard was “it’s all in your head” (definitely no pun intended) and Migraine/ headache never kill anyone. Well, we do know people who have had Migrainous strokes; we do know people who have taken their lives because they couldn’t stand the pain.We cannot stay silent as a group any longer.
Find a support group, online or in person. Take a vested interest in your disease and make it happen. With over 37 million of us, we can do it. All we have to do is take the first baby step. National Migraine Awareness month may just be the start, together we can do it.
Thanks for reading and feel well,
© Nancy Harris Bonk, 2011.Last updated June 10, 2011.