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Migraines and Headaches Community
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744637 tn?1250806622

complicated migraine or stroke?

iam a 34 yr old mom of 6. 2 weeks ago i woke up blind in one eye, dizzy,disoriented,and off balance. i had a little headache on the right side but not like my normal migraines. the blindness only lasted about 15 minutes but the other symptoms lasted off and on all day. with these other symptoms i also had numbness on the right side of my face& weakness in my right arm. The E.R ran a cat scan & said i wasnt having a stroke. This morning i woke up the same way as 2 weeks ago but this time i could not talk plainly& it felt like my tongue was swollen. Again there was just a minimal amount of headache on the right side of my head. I visited my family doctor & he said he thinks it is "Complicated Migraines" & is sending my for an MRI with contrast. he also said there is no treatment for complicated migraines& if thats what i have then i have to live with it. How can i tell if it is Complicated Migraines or small Strokes? What kind of treatments are there for it?
2 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi,

It is difficult to differentiate complicated migraine from stroke. The symptoms of stroke develop very rapidly while the symptoms of complicated migraine develop insidiously.
MRI and CT scan in patients of stroke shows the characteristic small vessel ischemic changes.
The best treatment for migraine is recognition and avoidance of trigger. Medications like NSAIDS are used to abort acute attacks of migraine. Other medications include butalbital, isometheptene and botox.
Avoidance of dietary triggers like chocolate, red wine, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, MSG, processed meats play an important role in controlling the symptoms of migraine.
Avatar universal
I am a 52 yr old female. I agree with Dr. Noopur having gone through that myself, it is hard to tell the difference between a complicated migraine and a stroke. I have had several CM's and also a mild stroke.  I always go to the ER and they run the tests, CT, MRI/MRA, Carotid Doppler, EKG, blood work, on and on. The first time it happened was the real deal, it indeed showed a small stroke and I was glad I went, my L. arm was numb and then I tried to talk and could not, it was like my tongue was swollen.  I had a minimal amt. of headache on the R. side, which made sense, it was my L. arm that was affected. I was in the hospital 3 days for observation, it ran it's course quickly...within 3 min. but however, left me drained, and always chills, I guess a trauma to my body.  The CM's, I am learning.... do different neurological things to me and last a little longer or maybe I'm learning they feel a little different, not so QUICK.... ABRUPT, out of nowhere, I think I'm catching on maybe there is a pre-migraine awareness now, and that's a strong MAYBE... I get too tired and too stressed. I was just at the ER a few wks. ago, and I told them what the problem was, this time only blood work and a CT,and they are beginning to rememeber me too, so I'm thinking maybe I'm gaining on this ugly thing.

The one thing I'm not understand with mine is the last several have all happened when I am napping and they awaken me. My preventatine meds agree with me, and my migraine doc is working with me, after looking and going through many docs that would not listen to me I found one that did, and I posted on here and found Dr. Noopur.  If you don't find one that does, keep looking, never be satisfied with an answer if you are uneasy with it. I believe in being your own healthcare advocate. It's your body and you only have this ONE!  I wish you the best!  Take care of yourself!!!
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