Migraine affects about four million Spaniards and causes some economic losses of 1,838 million euros each year, but still being the second cause of disability in the world, according to the WHO, only four hours are dedicated to studying it in Medicine.
In an interview, the executive director of the European Migraine and Headache Alliance (EMHA) and vice-president of the Spanish Migraine and Headache Association (AEMICE), Elena Ruiz de la Torre, warned, given these data, about the need for this ailment “stop being the great forgotten in the faculties” and its affected ones “misunderstood”.
A desperate and personal illness
As a victim of this disease since he was 12 years old (he is 60), De la Torre admits that “it can be exasperating”, because among other things “there is no test, no CT, or blood analysis” that can be used for diagnosis, nor is there a 100% effective treatment.
“It is true that migraine is so personl like the fingerprint “, that is, each patient may experience different symptoms, although basically it is expressed in severe headaches, photosensitivity or nausea.
“I have calculated that during all the time that I have been disabled by the migraine I will have lost a few eight years of my life“explains the head of EMHA,” and it is a disease that affects 15% of the world’s population, without distinguishing between ages, a hereditary and chronic neurological disease. “
Until puberty, he points out, the percentage of boys and girls who suffer from it is the same, but afterwards women triple in cases than men. “It is believed that it is due to the hormonal system. After menopause, in 60% of cases the migraine improves regarding the number of seizures and their intensity, but in 20% of cases it worsens. “
A clinical paradox
De la Torre draws attention to the contradiction posed by the enormous prevalence of this disease compared to lack of study or development of efficient treatments.
“About 60% of those affected does not have effective treatment“According to data from a survey among associates, hence the campaign The missing lesson -the lost lesson- launched on the occasion of European migraine day.
“We intend to claim that more education and training about this disease – he points out – because there is great academic and social ignorance about it “.
85% of patients believe that society he doesn’t take it seriously and that he suffers from a disease that is not recognized, according to De la Torre, which “contrasts, and greatly, with its high prevalence; it is a disease that many people suffer but that continues to embarrass those who suffer from it.”
“Everyone knows what a headache is, and perhaps associates our pain with symptoms of being hungry, dehydrated, tired, not having slept well and even being hungover, but it is a much more intense pain“, explains the expert.
Migraine is not an excuse
“Not even in some sectors of medicine it is considered as something important, banaliza; and in the end, those of us who suffer it hide, because it stigmatizes us when looking for a job or giving explanations, it is thought that we use it as an excuse to stop attending other obligations, “he laments.
Although in recent times there has been progress with innovative treatments, such as the one known by the acronym CGRP, which are giving results, “in general no funds for research and very little progress is made, because migraine does not kill, and it seems that that is why it is not important. “
“We know of affected people who the primary care doctor has recommended to become pregnant to treat migraine, or simply to get used to it or go to bed earlier and stop watching television, because they believe that it is a “nerve problem”, which shows a huge lack of knowledge. “
And he concludes: “We have to combat the idea that migraine is a disease of hysterical women, correct the excessive delay in diagnosis, which leads to self-medication, but also incomprehension surrounding herand the insecurity it generates“.