Tag Archive | "migraine"

Common Inherited Health Problems and How to Spot Them in Your Child

Everyone wants to have their child pick up the best traits of each of his parents. If the dad is highly intellectual or if the mom is very attractive, one would wish to have the child of these two, inherit both qualities, so the child would end up smart and beautiful. Physical attributes are not the only traits that are passed on to children; our body’s genes also pass on health problems and diseases. What are these common inherited health problems? And How can we determine if the child is affected or not?

There are 6 common inherited health problems that affect a lot of families in the United States of America. First health problem is with vision, according to Dr. Stuart Dankner M.D., a pediatrician ophthalmologist in Baltimore; problems such as near sightedness, lazy eye, and color blindness are all hereditary. Parents can suspect if their child has visual problems if they observe him experiencing any of these symptoms, frequent headaches, squinting and tearing up especially after reading or watching TV. If eye problem is present in both parents, it is best to have the child regularly checked by an ophthalmologist. The second health problem is eczema; a skin disorder characterized by dry, red, itchy skin patches believed to be caused by an allergic reaction to certain irritants such as extreme weather, egg and dairy products. Eczema is easy to spot, and if the parent suspects her child of having such condition, it is advisable to seek consult from a specialist. The third hereditary health problem is migraine; these severe headaches have a 50% chance of getting passed on if one parent has it, more so if both of them have it. Similar to how adults manifest migraine, children will also feel a throbbing pain on the front or sides of the head, usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light and sound. As always, it is always best to consult a specialist to manage and treat this condition. The fourth problem is Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, the major symptom of this disease is abdominal pain and alternating diarrhea and constipation. If found to have IBS, consult with a pediatrician and modify the child’s diet eliminating food that triggers such condition. The fifth health problem that can be passed on is allergies; there is more than 50% chance of inheriting allergies if either of the parents has it. Allergies can be triggered by different sources and can manifest in various ways such as colds, runny nose, skin rashes, eye swelling and in severe cases breathing difficulties. The child’s pediatrician might prescribe mild antihistamines to manage allergies. The final health problem that can be inherited by the child is psychological and emotional issues. Personality disorders, mood disorders and several anxiety disorders are highly genetic and children are strongly predisposed. To spot children who might be experiencing psychological or emotional disturbances, observe the child for depression, unusual sadness, irritability, and mood swings.

Early detection of these hereditary health problems is as important as treating the disease itself. Be very observant and always be wary of what your child has, learn how to spot the unusual.

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Coping with Childhood Migraines

For adults, migraines are truly debilitating – literally mind-numbing pain which worsens with light, noise and movement. It is bad enough to miss work for a day or two. Migraines are not limited to adults – children also experience these recurrent headache patterns. To children, however, they are more incapacitating because of their lower tolerance and threshold to pain.

What differentiates a headache from migraines?

Children may have one work to express the discomfort they are feeling – headache. However, parents must be taught how to recognize when it is a normal headache caused by, say, eating too much sugar, and when it’s a migraine headache that needs medical attention.

Unlike normal headaches, migraines come with an aura. This can be described as “seeing stars” or “glaring lights” just before the onset of a migraine headache. Auras could also be a sudden change in taste, smell, hearing and sensation. The pain of a migraine may occur around the eyes, on the forehead, or in the temples, rather than the head itself. Also, migraines are so severe, that it is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and abdominal pain. They are aggravated by motion, bright lights, and noises. Finally, migraines are relieved by sleep.

Headaches that cause children to awaken, or become apparent in the morning, are not migraines, but rather headaches which could be indicative of a brain tumor, or other underlying conditions.

 How do I know my child has migraines?

A child may have chronic migraines is he or she experiences more than five severe headaches accompanied by three or more of these other symptoms: nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, throbbing and localized headache, and the presence of an aura.

 What causes childhood migraines?

There are no definite and proven causes of migraines, either in adults or in children. However, it is believed to be genetic. Children with migraines may have inherited blood vessel hyper-sensitivity to certain chemical signals that cause vessel constriction and dilation. The sudden pressure changes in the vessels are believed to cause the pain. A family history of migraines makes a child more susceptible to developing them.

 How is childhood migraine diagnosed?  

Doctors assess the pediatric patient to determine whether it is simply a severe headache or a true migraine headache. It is important to assess the patient is crucial because migraines may be related to serious underlying conditions.

Doctors work into finding the specific triggers of the childhood migraines so that they can prescribe the best treatment. These triggers can vary from child to child. 

 What relief measures can parents offer children who have migraines?

The best way to control migraines is to actually prevent the child from exposure to triggers. The trick is to recognize your child’s triggers. Triggers may include smoke, pollution, strong perfume, certain foods, especially those with high nitrate and MSG content. Caffeine and salt should also be avoided to avoid hyper-stimulation of the nerves in the brain. Extreme temperatures, motion sickness, sleep deprivation and missed meals can also trigger migraines.

If your child is already experiencing a migraine attack, put him or her to rest comfortably, with dim to no lights, and keep the room as noise and movement-free as possible. Your child must go to sleep for relief.

Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may not be effective in adults, but are effective in children with migraines. Consult your doctor on the recommended dose based on your child’s weight and height, as well as his or her age.

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