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HeadWay, Issue #113 -- Vertigo, Dehydration, and Meds
December 02, 2013

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In this issue:

Vertigo, Medication Headaches, and Dehydration

Say what?! Dehydration

Vertigo, Medication Headaches, and Dehydration

Thanks for sending in so many questions!  We can't cover all of them, but it's time to catch a few more...

Migraine Associated Vertigo

Rebecca from the USA wants to know more about migraine associated vertigo (MAV).  MAV isn't a type of migraine, but a symptom.

Vertigo refers to the feeling that the world is moving or spinning around you.  It's actually quite a common symptom of various kinds of migraine, and other issues such as neck trauma or a headache from MSG.  In fact, about 30% of migraine patients experience MAV.

Because it can be a sign of various disorders, it's very important to get a proper diagnosis.  For example, MAV could be a sign of more than one type of migraine with aura, such as familial hemiplegic migraine, migraine with brainstem aura (basilar-type migraine), and migraine with typical aura.  Your treatment may vary depending on your diagnosis.

Usually MAV will be treated by treating the disease.  If it becomes very serious and ongoing, some medications may be given to break the cycle.

If your migraine attacks are frequent, your doctor may suggest a preventative medication.  Once you find one that works, your doctor may take you off it after a year.  Your symptoms may not return.

Headaches from Medications

Julie, also from the USA, is wondering why medications are giving her headaches.  Thankfully magnesium supplements have helped her, but certain meds still seem to trigger symptoms.

This is not uncommon, but it is a very individual thing.  Your medical profile is important, and so are the ingredients in the medications you're taking.

You're going to want to keep track of which medications you're taking, and when the headaches hit.  Check the ingredients in your medications and supplements - it may not be the main medication that's the problem, but certain "fillers" and additional ingredients.

Then take your information to a doctor who knows your medical history, and see if she can help you narrow down which ingredients are causing the problem.  She may be able to prescribe alternative brands or medications that won't trigger headaches.

Chronic Dehydration

Tracey from the UK asks if there is a link between headache, migraine, and "chronic dehydration".  After migraine attacks every few weeks that kept getting worse, she decided to stop drinking tea and instead drink plenty of water.  She saw a great improvement.

Of course caffeine from tea can cause problems, but let's answer another question.  Could tea itself cause dehydration?  The answer is - not directly.

Yes, caffeinated drinks can be slightly diuretic, meaning you urinate more often.  However, because you're still drinking liquids, you're not going to get dehydrated if you drink coffee or tea all day long.  But you also may not be as hydrated as you would be with water.

Now, what is "chronic dehydration"?

It turns out that chronic dehydration are magic words that are probably thrown around a little too often.  Are many people really chronically dehydrated, as some articles claim?

We don't have time to get into the debate here.  But it is true that many people have found that simply drinking more water helps significantly with headache disorders.

The best advice seems to go something like this.  1) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  They're full of water, and vitamins, and could indeed change your life.  2) When you're thirsty, go get a drink.  3) Try drinking extra water.  But don't over-do it - drinking too much water could cause serious health problems.

Thanks for your questions!  Keep them coming, and I'll try to answer more in upcoming issues.

Say what?!  Dehydration

What actually do we mean by dehydration?  Basically, dehydration means you're losing more fluids than you're taking in.  This could be from sweating, urination, vomiting, or diarrhea.  Even mild dehydration can result in symptoms, but ongoing or severe dehydration can do serious damage.

This article on dehydration will give you an introduction in more detail.

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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