MRF: Migraine in the top 20 of most disabling medical illnesses - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

MRF: Migraine in the top 20 of the world's most disabling medical illnesses


If you've ever dealt with a migraine you know how debilitating it can be. The sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell can last for hours.

Something as simple as reading can feel nearly impossible when you're experiencing a migraine. Seven-year-old Gabbie Black deals with them often and has been living with them since she was four. Gabbie’s father, Shane, says sometimes she gets scared and he understands that fear.

Shane says he started having migraines when he was just five or six years old.

“They would come on and I would see spots; maybe have some dizziness, and they would really take you out. I couldn't be out in the living room or anything. I'd have to go lay down on the bed in the dark and for a kid it's pretty scary because the pain is intense and I'd really never felt like anything like that before; you don't really know what's going on,” Black explained.

Headaches passed down to children

The Migraine Research Foundation, or MRF, says migraines tend to run in families and if a parent suffers, there's a 40% chance a child will. It also says about 10% of school-age children suffer from migraines and it often goes undiagnosed.

“Brain tumors and things like that, we wanted to rule all that out and make sure through an MRI that wasn't what we were dealing with,” Black explained.  

Gabbie recently started taking new medicine to prevent the onset of migraines and what Black calls clusters.

"Sometimes they'll come 2-3 days in a row so you'll get a cluster of having them several days in a row before you can get some relief from them. That's what we see with hers, they'll come in waves," Black said.

There's only so much Black can do to help ease his daughter's pain.

"We try to keep her calm, put her in a room with not a lot of light, put a rag over her face, and give her favorite bear. Sit with her a lot of times, lay with her. A lot of times she has to go to sleep before it will wear off or go away," Black explained.

Black says he still deals with migraines but he tries to prevent them by paying attention to what triggers them like lack of sleep.

"Sometimes lack of sleep if her sleep gets interrupted, if she has a bad night sleep a lot of times the next day she'll have a bad migraine. Sometimes too much sugar which is sad for a 7-year-old," Black said.

The Black family is not alone in their battle against migraines. The Migraine Research Foundation says 36 million men, women and children are affected by migraines in the United States and it’s hoping to help educate people about the illness.

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