I've suffered from migraines for many years and I have to be reasonably careful about what I do or do not do in order to prevent an attack. For instance if I'm in a meeting, I have to sit with my back to the window otherwise the glare of the sun against the window can trigger an attack. I'm teetotal because drinking alcohol is a sure-fire way to make me ill. I do not eat bananas, I avoid excessively salty food, I try to ensure that I get between 7 to 8 hours sleep a night …. the list goes on and on.
Exercise and Migraines
One of the main things, however, that triggers a migraine is exercise – but of course I can not avoid doing that! It's worse in the summer because it's hot and the sunlight is very bright. We went for a long walk with the dog yesterday evening and I was OK for the first hour. But then we started walking with the sun in our eyes, and within a few minutes I knew that an attack was iminent. By the time I got home, my head was hurting, my eyes were hurting, my chest felt tight and I was sensitive to smells.
Nevertheless, I made dinner. What I'd rather do when I have a migraine is sit down, ignore everyone and everything, and sleep. However, I get migraines so frequently that I would just be a recluse! Instead I rely on my prescription migraine tablets, which are a god-send. They are evil little things: they increase your risk of heart attack and stroke and the side-effects are quite severe, but they do stop an attack if I take one soon after I feel it coming on.
Food and Migraines
So I took a tablet and carried on with my evening. However when the headache is particularly bad, the tablet takes longer to work and the side-effects are stronger – and I get an overwhelming craving for something sweet. It's hard to explain it – my body almost cries out for it. We do not buy chocolate or sweets, so Marc made me toast with jam. Within 5 minutes, I felt much better, but of course this is not great for trying to lose weight! But it's yet another reason why I do not lose weight despite the fact that I generally eat well and do a moderate amount of exercise every day.
As an aside, I have been to the doctor's numerous times to find out what I can do about my migraines. Needless to say, all that is offered is more tablets. In fact, I was finally referred to a headache specialist a while ago. Great, I thought – someone is finally going to help me! I went in with high hopes and a long list of triggers, but the specialist was not interested. All he did was suggest that I take a high dose of beta blockers every day, a tablet for (I think) reducing blood pressure that they've found also works for migraine sufferers. That taking beta blockers is not recommended for women of child bearing age did not seem to be a concern for the specialist, which I am still astounded by. Of course, I threw the prescription away and cancelled my follow up appointment.