About Vestibular Migraine
What is Vestibular Migraine?
Vestibular migraine is a variant of migraine, with or without headache, featuring vestibular dysfunction (i.e. dizziness, vertigo, motion sensitivity, etc.) as the predominant symptom. Vestibular migraine is a serious, disabling neurological disease. In fact, the diagnostic criteria for vestibular migraine states that your quality of life must be severely impacted to be diagnosed as a vestibular migraineur.
How Common is Vestibular Migraine?
This condition affects a significant proportion of the population, with an estimated 12% of all people having a migraine disorder. Of this percentage of migraineurs, 1 in 3 have a vestibular component to their migraine. Let’s think about these numbers in the context of the United States, which are home to 318 million people. If 12% of those 318 million people have migraines, that works out to over 38 million migraineurs. And one third of these migraineurs– nearly 13 million– have vestibular migraines!
And the numbers get even crazier; an estimated 50% of these 13 million vestibular migraineurs are currently undiagnosed or untreated. That’s an absolutely insane number of people! That adds up to over 6 million people in the U.S. who are currently suffering from unexplained dizziness caused by vestibular migraines. 6 million!
Why Does Reaching the VM/MAV Diagnosis Matter?
Why Does This Matter?
Migraines are stackable or cumulative. What this means is that every time you have a migraine, the abnormal brain activity builds and builds and builds, making your brain more and more inflamed. The longer your migraines go undiagnosed and untreated, the worse this migrainous brain activity becomes, and the more disabling your symptoms can be. In the case of vestibular migraine, this can mean going from being able to function normally with mild dizziness to becoming bedridden for months or even years. For some people, like me, you can reach a point of chronic migraines: staying above your migraine threshold all the time.
Early Diagnosis and Treatment is Critical in (Vestibular) Migraine Recovery
The earlier your doctors can identify your dizziness as vestibular migraine and intervene with proper treatments, the easier it is to break the migraine cycle. Conversely, the more disabled you become as a result of undiagnosed vestibular migraine, the harder your recovery will be, and the longer it will take for you to get back to ‘normal.’ If you have vestibular migraine, you know that this disease doesn’t kill you, but it can take your life away.
Why Diagnosed Vestibular Migraineurs Need to Raise Awareness:
By Raising Awareness, We Can Help Reduce the Suffering
If you have vestibular migraine, imagine how different your life could be now if you had been diagnosed earlier; before you reached a point of being chronic or disabled. By spreading the word and telling others about the signs of vestibular migraine, and the prevalence of this condition, you can potentially save others from months of unnecessary suffering.
During Migraine Awareness Month, I Challenge You To…
Tell One Person About Vestibular Migraine
If you know someone with a family history of migraines, perhaps a mother, aunt, or cousin, with migraine headaches, tell them about vestibular migraine! Because there is a strong genetic component to migraine, it’s likely that someone in their family will develop dizziness as a result of vestibular migraine at some point in their lives.
Share the "6 Signs Your Symptoms Could Be Vestibular Migraine" Article
The “6 Signs” article, which describes the diagnostic criteria for vestibular migraine, could make a big difference for someone who’s dizzy, but doesn’t know why. Know someone who’s dizzy or has a family history of migraine? Show them this article!
You Can Make A Difference!
In search of other ways to contribute, or have ideas for ways to spread the word? Shoot me a message on our contact page!
Don’t forget! If you participate in one of our challenges, you can tag us on Facebook using the @MyMigraineBrain tag.
Thank you for reading! Now get out there and help make the world a better place for vestibular migraineurs 🙂