UKCAT Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1 Part 3

 Headache and migraine

Headache is a pain originating in and around the head and can be due to a variety of causes. Headache is an extremely common symptom and most people will have suffered from it at some point in their lives. Often headaches are harmless and will respond to simple analgesia or relaxation.  However there are certain incidences when a headache may be a symptom of an underlying problem.

One of the most common types of headache individuals seek medical assistance for is migraine. Migraine is experienced by a small but significant number of people and causes significant suffering. Migraine is believed to be caused by abnormalities in blood flow in the blood vessels of the brain however there is no conclusive agreement as to the biological cause. It is thought that initially blood vessels constrict which can cause “aura” symptoms where the individual may see bright flashing lights or stars-there is not normally any pain present at this time. Eventually the aura symptoms subside and the blood vessels rapidly dilate, which is thought to be one of the causes of the pain associated with migraine-which is extremely severe and debilitating. 

Individuals may be able to tell when the migraine aura is about to begin, and this is called the prodromal phase. In the prodromal phase individuals can suffer from depression, irritability, mood changes, fatigue, yawning and a craving for certain foods. The prodromal phase can start up to seven days before the migraine headache or aura symptom occur and cause significant distress. There can also be a postdromal phase which is experienced when the migraine headache and pain stop, and this phase is usually characterised by impairment of cognitive skills and gastro-intestinal upset.

19. Everyone suffers from headache from time to time 

20. Headaches are always due to a serious underlying problem 

21. One of the most common forms of headache is migraine

22. No one knows why people get migraines 

23. Blood vessels in the brain can constrict and dilate

24. Most who have migraine have aura symptoms

25. The prodromal phase can last up to seven days

26. The Post dromal phase always lasts for about a week

27. The Prodromal phase can cause people to faint

28. Migraine affects more women than men


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