I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Lundbeck to write about the realities of migraine as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
I have been a migraine sufferer for most of my adult life. I developed them in my very early 20s, before I had children. I have been on a wide-variety of treatments over the years – from daily pills to episodic treatment. After having a breast reduction and hysterectomy, my severe headaches are much more infrequent. I still get headaches though fairly regularly.
This is the first in a two-part migraine blog series that I am partnering with Med-IQ on. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. Because migraine has been such a huge part of my story, and because so many people I know also suffer from them, I wanted to use my platform to share about this genetic neurologic disease.
More than 100 different genetic mutations can make an individual vulnerable to migraine. Each person who has migraine has a different combination of genetic mutations. This means that the disease is very individualized and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment option.
That said, healthcare providers have tools for migraine prevention, though treatment is a process of trial and error. In my early 20s, I recall many different variations of medications and supplements trying to get my headaches in check. It was frustrating at times, and I dealt with some side effects in the process. Ultimately though, we did find a good the right treatment for me to live with less pain.
Patient goals for prevention should be to manage the disease by reducing how often migraine attacks occur (their frequency) and how long they last (their duration). It’s important to recognize that prevention strategies don’t cure migraines.
Ways to Help Migraine Sufferers with Prevention
I recently had the opportunity to do a group zoom call with Dr. Amaal J. Starling of Mayo Clinic’s Neurology program to discuss migraines and she offered this mnemonic device of things migraine sufferers can do to help with their prevention strategy (along with medications):
SEEDS for success:
Sleep hygiene: Get enough sleep each night
Exercise regularly: 20-30 minutes each day (2-3 times a week of aerobic exercise)
Eat regular heathy meals: Eat throughout the day, as peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels can trigger migraine attacks
Drink water to prevent dehydration
Stress management: Use evidence-based migraine prevention techniques like biofeedback, muscle relaxation, and mindfulness
If you suffer from a lot of headaches, definitely talk with your primary care physician. He or she might be able to prescribe medication to help or refer you to a board-certified headache specialist. Be sure to come to your appointment ready to describe your symptoms and frequency of headaches — both “regular” and severe.
Shockingly, it is estimated that 75% of people with episodic migraine are not being treated with standard-of-care (getting their doctors to recommend the proper treatments). Please get help if you need it.
Can You Help?
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey will take just a few minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about the challenges you have experienced with diagnosing and treating migraine, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you complete the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used to randomly draw the winners and notify you of your prize if you win. Click here to take the survey.
Filed Under: You
If you are looking for a non-toy gift idea, I am delighted to share this amazing kids' book subscription service called Lillypost. Get 30% off your first order when you use code FALL4BOOKS. (Affiliate links used in this post.) I've never seen them offer this much of a discount!
Lillypost offers three kinds of book subscription boxes: a board book box, a children's picture book box and a combo box with two picture books and one board book. They sent me both boxes to check out and honestly, I was super impressed. The books included were not your big box books that you have seen everywhere, which I loved! They were well-written, with positive themes and beautifully illustrated.
The subscription is a cost-effective and excellent way to build your family's library. The value of each box is $25-$50!
A Lillypost subscription is perfect for kids ages 0-7. Lillypost is available in the United States and Canada.
To sign up for Lillypost:
PICK YOUR BOX
Go here to select your little one's age and get 4 board books or 3 picture books (or a mix of both!) delivered to your doorstep for as low as $15.95 / month!
Choose the plan that's right for you, from month-to-month to prepaid that offer better discounts and Lillypost will do the rest.
DELIGHT YOUR LITTLE ONE & GIVE BACK
For every box we ship, Lillypost donates a book to a child in need. One box, one book. To date, they've donated over 90,000 books to kids across North America.
Click here to subscribe— and don't forget to use the code FALL4BOOKS.
Want to improve your outdoor photography skills? With fall upon us and that magical fall light here, now is a great time to join the Outdoor Photography Guide. Affiliate links used in this post.
This membership is regularly $65, but you can join for a year for only $3. I recently joined and have been so impressed by the huge diversity of video trainings offered on the site. I truly think anyone could benefit from this membership.
On the site, Outdoor Photography Guide's experienced photographers will educate and inspire you in the art of Outdoor Photography. With the $3 membership, you'll get full access to a library of professional photography courses. These courses on their own would be hundreds of dollars. This is an incredible deal that anyone can benefit from — even if you just shoot photos on an iphone.
They also add new training videos every week!
Click here to join for just $3.
By Amy Coose
If you or your family love LEGO, then you know finding them on sale is rare. With Christmas around the corner and the supply chain expected to be very limited, now is the time to shop in-stock LEGO sets. Through Wednesday at 8 AM central time, all Lego sets on Zulily are an additional 15% off when you shop through my affiliate links. Here are a few of my favorite sets, or shop the full sale here.
LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR: Reg. price $39.99, sale price $33.99
This sale ends very soon, so shop now!
This post is sponsored by Med-IQ. Supported by educational grants from Abbvie Inc., Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Did you know eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common childhood illness? My youngest son Ezra has a very mild eczema diagnosis. His tends to flare in the winter, with patches of skin getting very red and itchy. Sometimes he will wake up with areas that he has scratched very raw during the night. Whenever he has a flare up, I always feel awful. It's so hard to see your kids hurting in any way.
With October being National Eczema Awareness Month, it seemed like the perfect time to discuss this illness. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 16.5 million adults in the U.S. have eczema or AD, with 6.6 million reporting moderate-to-severe symptoms.
Symptoms of AD include:
- Red/inflamed skin
There is tremendous variation in severity of eczema but those who suffer from moderate-to-severe AD tend to have persistent disease that comes back more frequently with significant flare ups. This disease can significantly impact an individual and their quality of life. As you can imagine or might have experienced, when children are diagnosed with moderate-to-severe AD, it can disrupt the entire family, not just the child, particularly if night-time itching impacts sleep. This lack of sleep can then impact school, learning, social interactions, leading to increased risks for anxiety and depression.
While primary care doctors can take care of 60-70% of patients, those with more severe AD should see a specialist. For those like Ezra with mild AS, good general skincare and lifestyle changes improve the disease's presentation. For instance, we find with Ezra that if we moisturize every night after his bath, his skin tends to not flare. But cold weather + a few nights without lotion and we get in trouble. In moderate-to-severe AD, the types of treatments fall into two different buckets – topical therapy and systemic treatment.
Topical therapy includes really good skincare (bathing, moisturizing after bathing, avoiding specific irritants) and anti-inflammatory topical therapies (steroids and non-steroid prescription alternatives).
Systemic treatment including new biologic agents which is the biggest break through in treatment over the last few years. This new treatment can include oral medication or injections every two weeks or every month, and currently they are approved for kids ages 6+. These treatments change our ability to manage the disease. Successful treatment allows a patient to lead a “normal life” – in the instance of kids, this would include being able to participate in regular activities like sleep overs and sports without itchiness disrupting their experience, and these new treatments can support that goal, particularly for patients who have serious disease with disruptions in their life (sleeplessness, rash over significant part of body).
Advocate for Your Child
As a parent, it is important to advocate for your child. You know better than anyone else about your child and their condition, plus can articulate in ways he or she might not be able to. A few ways you can do this, if your child has AD, include:
- Rely on trusted sources to learn about the different medicines and treatments available for AD. One good resource to review is the National Eczema Association. They even have a special section for parents.
- Engage in conversations with your child's pediatrician and ask for a referral if needed.
- Be prepared for doctor’s visits, including telemedicine, to discuss symptoms and treatment course for your child.
- Consider the full picture of AD's impact on your child’s life by tracking green days, yellow days and red days. A green day is one where you might pay attention to mitigating disease (ie. Not wearing wool sweaters, being mindful of soaps), a yellow day is a more disruptive day with the disease and a red day is the most challenging. Some parents find it helpful to use a simple calendar make a red, yellow or green dot on the calendar each day for the impact of AD on the day. Bring this calendar to doctor's appointments and/or scan to their health record.
Want access to free personalized, evidence-based texts to help you ditch the itch? Med-IQ has partnered with Pro-Change to offer up to 6 months of tailored text messages to help you manage your eczema/AD journey—from appointment prep to self-management tips.
Text the word ITCH to 401-214-9651 to start. Available for both patients and caregivers.
Learn more here.
Will you take this brief survey?
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey will take just a few minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about the challenges you have experienced with diagnosing and treating moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you complete the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 6 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used to randomly draw the winners and notify you of your prize if you win. Click here to take the survey now.
Filed Under: Family