The migraine aura is the name given to certain symptoms, which you see in less than 20% of migraine sufferers. They are visual, sensory, motor and speech disturbances – visual disturbances being the most common.
They usually last from 10 to 30 minutes but not more than 60 minutes. Migraine auras may precede the migraine headache pain or can occur along with it.
What Causes Migraine Aura?
What causes the migraine aura is yet not known. Certain theories are being propagated.
Some believe that the visual disturbances seen in the aura are due to an electrical or chemical wave that passes over the visual cortex of the brain. As the wave passes, the visual hallucinations are seen. This electrical wave could be due to migraine trigger factors.
Others believe that the cause may be the disturbances in the two brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which regulate the functioning of the brain.
The cause could be the migraine trigger factors. This causes the autoimmune system to react leading to an extra flow of immune cells through the blood. The blood vessels dilate to accommodate this extra cell mass.
In order to control the smooth muscles of the blood vessels more chemicals are released, which cause the blood vessels to constrict. The blood vessels dilate and constrict due to these reactions in the brain, which results in a throbbing headache.
The symptoms of migraine with aura usually precede the eadache but at times can occur with it. These symptoms are harmless and temporary and go away once the attack has subsided.
Visual disturbances: A migraine headache accompanied by visual symptoms is called ocular migraine. These symptoms cause you to lose normal vision. There could be eye pain.
You may see a small area in your visual field called the blind spot or zigzag lines in your visual field. You may also see bright spots or flashes. There could be a partial loss of vision, which is called scotoma. Some people experience blurred or cloudy vision.
Image showing how visual symptoms of migraine with aura look like
Sensory disturbances of aura can occur with the visual disturbances or just after. These disturbances are seen as tingling or numbness that travels up your arm and can spread to the face and nose area of the same side and to the tongue. This can last for 10 to 20 minutes. Rarely, the limbs and the face on one side of the body may become weak.
Speech disturbances of aura are temporary disturbances in speech wherein the speech becomes slurred. This is referred to as dysphasic aura.
Other Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, increased sweating, fatigue and swelling of face.
You should also read: