For me, Michele Bachmann’s Migraine attacks are a non-issue in the 2012 Presidential race. I’ve been hesitant to write on this topic because it’s garnered more inaccurate and negative information on an already heavily stigmatized disease. Here’s the reality: Migraine is a genetic neurological disease thought to be caused by over excited neurons in our brains and genetics.
Current thinking is that a Migraine attack occurs when a Migraineurs easily exited brain is exposed to certain triggers. These triggers set in motion neurons in our brains that begin a flow of neuronal activity that spreads across our brain and brain stem. Certain smells, foods, hormones, interrupted sleeping patterns and changes in the barometric pressure can be Migraine triggers. No two people experience a Migraine attack or trigger the same way thus making a diagnosis and treatment plan difficult for some medical professionals.
There are upwards of 37 million Americans with Migraine and of these, 33.3 million are eligible voters. (The remaining are children under the age of 18 -whose numbers range anywhere from 4%- 10 %.) .1 Instead of wasting time and energy on whether or not Ms. Bachmann’s is “fit” to be President, the last few weeks would have been much better spent educating the public, medical professional and our elected officials on the impact Migraine disease has on American. If Ms. Bachmann took a real stand, just look at all those potential voters! And here’s why Migraine disease is important:
- The annual US economic loss (direct and indirect) of headache disorders exceeds $31 billion.
- Headache disorders cost nine percent of all US lost labor.
- There have been no new novel drug therapies in over 49 years for Migraine.
- There is no way to diagnose a Migraine, but we certainly can diagnose and treat erectile dysfunction.
But since Migraine is still not well understood, it continues to be stigmatized and inaccurately reported. Other famous Migraineurs such as Cindy McCain, Serene Branson, and Marcia Cross to name a few could have come out to support her.2 Even if they don’t agree with her politics, they can’t argue about Migraine and its impact on daily living. Take a stand and support the 37 million of us who are beaten down because no one understands or cares to deal with head pain. Migraine specialists aside, primary care physicians, neurologists, internists, osteopaths and other health care professionals don’t have enough information about Migraine disease. If doctors treating our Migraines don’t think of it as a real issue, why would we? If doctors treating our Migraines and headache disorders continually disregard Migraine with comments such as “a headache never killed anyone” why would we support each other when the very people we go to help us, don “get it?”
This problem is a “top down” issue. The disconnect between Migraineurs, doctors and the public remains the same. This was a missed opportunity for all of us. Doctors need more education on Migraine disease. Patients need to know that the doctor is in their corner. And the public needs to know Migraine disease is a real health issue – not just another headache.
1. American Headache Society Fact Sheet. Headaches in Children.
2. Dodick, David. McCain, Cindy. Bachmann condition adds to new focus to Migraine. CNN Opinion. July 25, 2011.
Thanks for reading and feel well,
© Nancy Harris Bonk, 2011.Last updated July 31, 2011.