A killer migraine

Basilar-Type Migraine (BTM) is an uncommon type of complicated migraine with symptoms that result from dysfunction of the lower part of the brain. In serious cases, it can lead to stroke, coma, or even death.

Who’s at risk?
Early research suggested that BTM was most common in adolescent females. More recent statistical analysis has shown that BTM affects all age groups and both male and female. However, BTM, like other forms of migraine, is more common in females. The are approximately three times as many female sufferers as male.

The symptoms of BTM is usually occur suddenly and can be associated with inability to speak properly, ringing in he ears, and vomiting. This called the aura phase, where sufferers experience perceptual disturbances. This phase usually last for an hour and can be frightening due to the dizziness and loss of control.

Other symptoms:
-Double vision
-Loss of balance
-Loss of consciousness
-Intense headache pain
-Slurred speech
-Temporary loss of vision.

What cause and triggers BTM?
Previously, it was thought that BTM started in the basilar artery (one of the arteries supplying the brain with blood). Now, researchers are looking more at neural cases (the chemicals sending messages throughout the brain) but like other migraines, the specifics of what is taking place are still somewhat of a mystery.

Cheese and wine are common food triggers, as well as food additives such as nitrites (mainly found in processed meats). It can be helpful to keep a food dairy and note the foods you eat to identity triggers.

Treatment option
Unfortunately, rare disease do not always receive much interest and research and BTM is a rare disease. Treatment is similar treatment to other migranes.

Medications include beta-blockers , anti-epileptics, calciums channels blockers, anti-depressants, pr over-the counter drugs such as acetaminophen (paracetamol)

Advice for sufferers
1-Lie down in a dark, quiet room during the aura phase. You can also try placing a cold damp cloth over your forehead to soothe the throbbing head pain.
2-Avoid or limit your alcohol intake as BTM can be worsened by consumption of alcohol.
3-Cigarette use or oral contraception alongside BTM can put you at an increased risk for stroke so it’s good idea to stop both if you are a sufferer.

How can you be treated?
1-Biofeedback is one of the alternative treatments suggested for BTM. It measures internal processes in the body to allow you to actively heal yourself. Evidence is still largely sketchy but it may be worth trying if you’re looking for help.
2-Always seek medical advice. Doctors are concerned about BTM because symptoms are the same as serious conditions. There is also concern that those with BTM may be at increased risk of stroke. Frequent and intense basilar migraines may require consultation with a neurologist.
However, BTM is rare, and even if you get the symptoms, don’t panic. But make sure you see a doctor immediately to make sure you’re keeping you risk as low as possible.