Hemiplegic migraines mimic symptoms of stroke

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Numbness, slurred speech, and confusion are just a few symptoms that describe a stroke. But they can describe something else too.

It's a condition that leaves you feeling helpless.

"I couldn't hardly talk or walk or think clearly."

And it only affects 1 in 10,000 people.

"I remember I looked in the mirror and my face looked different, like I had suffered a stroke, but it's not a stroke," said Amber Petty.

"It's different from the stroke because it's transient, it doesn't leave any permanent damage on the brain.

It's called a hemiplegic migraine. There might be something going on on the left side of the brain because the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body."

Dr. Muhammed Daaif studies a wide range of neurologic problems, but it's the hemiplegic migraine that lacks sufficient understanding, but enough to understand factors that could make it worse.

"High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, estrogen, those things need to be controlled."

Unlike strokes, hemiplegic migraines can be traced back to sensory triggers, such as a sight, sound or smell that causes a disturbance in the electricity of the brain. Sleep deprivation and stress are also common factors. Dr. Daaif recommends migraine sufferers keep a journal so they can trace their symptoms back to an initial trigger.

Amber Petty is no stranger to hemiplegic migraines, she's suffered from them since she was a teenager, but now that she has a family to take care of, it causes even greater concern.

Amber hasn't found any successful treatments, but she at least knows the warning signs.

"Head pains starting up, I get kind of nauseous, and then the other stuff will start kicking in like the paralysis, the vision, the hearing problems and speech problems. I found out real quick that I can't be driving when that happens because I almost got into an accident twice."

Amber's still looking for answers, but she's found solace in support groups, like the Hemiplegic Migraine Foundation.

Above all, it's important to note that migraines alone have not been proven to lead to stroke, but they may be one factor that increases your risk.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment