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A survey released recently by the Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) reveals that 68 per cent of Irish people living with migraine believe their condition will continue to interrupt their lives this year.

Thirty-two per cent of respondents reported losing 12 days or more due to migraine each month. Aspects of their life that they are most concerned will be affected include day-to-day work activities (75 per cent), relationships with family/friends (66 per cent), social life (46 per cent), exercising (43 per cent), career progression (32 per cent), and studying (23 per cent).

The survey was released to coincide with the launch of the ‘Tame your Migraine’ awareness campaign, the goal of which is to encourage a positive conversation around the prevention of migraine. The campaign, led by RTÉ broadcaster and migraineur, Evanne Ní Chuilinn, aims to empower and encourage those living with the condition to ‘tame their migraine’ by proactively seeking support from their primary care doctor, specialist, pharmacy and MAI.

The survey also shows that for 46 per cent of respondents, Covid-19 has made them think differently about their condition. Fifty per cent plan to take care of their health to minimise migraine where possible, 13 per cent want to reassess how they manage their migraine, and 8 per cent aim to learn more about their migraine triggers.

Survey respondents also shared their advice on managing their migraine attacks, which includes keeping a migraine diary to identify triggers (30 per cent); reducing stress (14 per cent); consulting a doctor (13 per cent); establishing a daily routine (10 per cent); practicing a good sleep routine (10 per cent); staying hydrated (8 per cent); exercising regularly (5 per cent); eating regular healthy meals (4.6 per cent); staying connected to friends, family and support groups (4 per cent); and limiting alcohol consumption (2 per cent) and screen time (1 per cent).

Dr Martin Ruttledge, Consultant Neurologist, Beaumont Hospital and The Hermitage Clinic, commented: “While almost one-third have not been in contact with their GP in the last year, it is encouraging to see that approximately one-fifth (22 per cent) of respondents contacted their GP about their migraine in the last month. We are conscious that a lot of people might be worried about contacting their primary care doctor at this time during the Covid-19 pandemic, but please do so if you are concerned and be patient, as the GP practices are very busy at the moment and under significant pressure. Your concerns and medical needs are important to us as doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

“I have talked with many patients throughout the years who have become frustrated and lost hope, convinced there was nothing that could be done for them. To those out there feeling the same right now, there is hope and there are better treatments available. Have an open conversation with your GP or healthcare provider about managing your migraine.”

The survey was released by the MAI in partnership with Novartis.