Triggering and Treating Migraines (CBS NEWSPATH)



Karen DiMarsico doesn't let migraines interfere with her work—anymore.

"I just take my medication and go on with my day," she said.

DiMarsico was surprised to learn a conservative website recently suggested Republican Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann's migraines might make her unfit to be president.

"I have prescribed medication that I take on occasion whenever symptoms arise, and keep my migraines under control," Bachmann said.

Doctors say that's typical for the 36 million Americans who suffer from the severe headaches.

"This is clearly a treatable condition. So these headaches can be managed despite having those migraine headaches," said Dr. Robert Duarte, the director of the pain center at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset.

Migraines are three times more common in women than men. And while an episode typically lasts 24 hours, without medication they can be painful, and in some cases severe enough to cause sufferers to miss work for days at a time.

Stress, changes in sleep, hormonal changes, and caffeine or alcohol all trigger migraines. Sufferers can also have nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sounds.

DiMarsico had her first migraine in third grade and says life was miserable until she saw a doctor.

"You can function now because of these medications. So you can go on with your daily life. It's been a godsend in my life," she said.

DiMarsico says she doesn't see any reason Bachmann can't get the job done.

Migraine attacks may also be associated with sinus or neck pain, dizziness, difficulty with concentration, anxiety and other changes in mood.