Comorbidities is a term used when two illnesses appear at a greater than coincidental rate in the general population. Researchers have identified common migraine comorbidities as depression, anxiety, stroke, irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy, and hypertension, which suggests at some level the illnesses are interrelated.
To better understand the illness and receive optimal migraine care, identifying other health conditions is important. When diagnosed with migraines, it is important to provide a full patient history and sometimes a full exam is needed to determine if other medical conditions are present. If you have migraines and another health condition, treatment now becomes more complex because there are two separate conditions to manage; furthermore, they may be interrelated.
If migraine and another illness are considered, here are steps to take to make sure the right course of action is taken:
- Diagnosis: Receive an accurate diagnosis of what kind of migraine you have, as well as the comorbid condition.
- Treatment: Get a clear treatment plan. In some patients, one medication may be able to control both conditions, but some patients may need more than one.
- Lifestyle: The most important part of treatment is monitoring and addressing lifestyle factors that may be making conditions worse.