UK & World News
Migraine Sufferers 'Missing Out' On Adequate Care
Britain's eight million migraine sufferers could be missing out on the care they need due to poor training for GPs, a charity has warned.
The Migraine Trust says that despite migraines and headaches affecting at least one in five women and one in 12 men in the UK - the same level as diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined - GPs receive around one hour's training on how to treat the conditions.
The trust is calling for more money to be spent on education and research.
Consultant neurologist Dr Mark Weatherall told Sky News: "At present the amount of time that's devoted in medical student training to headache disorders is wholly inadequate.
"There needs to be more time devoted to these conditions, people need to understand how to diagnose a migraine and how to treat it effectively.
"The GP will be the first person that somebody comes to see, so it's really important that they get the diagnosis right and offer them effective treatment from the very beginning and that way some of the complications of more chronic migraines can be avoided."
A migraine is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or on one side of the head. Other symptoms include nausea and sensitivity to light.
Kimberley-Marie Sklinar lives with debilitating pain almost every day. She has around 20 migraines a month which means at times she can't walk, see or eat.
She says after being prescribed with painkillers, which are not always effective, by her GP she decided to get a private diagnosis.
She told Sky News: "Before I got the migraines really badly I used to be a lot more active, I cycled London to Paris, I did a lot more sport and now I struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I work from home a lot more, I see my friends a lot less."
She added: "There is a lack of understanding about the seriousness of migraines - they're not headaches, some people don't even get head pain. That lack of understanding goes out into the public too - people don't understand what migraines are so how can doctors?"
The medicines watchdog, the National Institute from Health and Care Excellence, has now issued new standards on how to improve the care and support for sufferers.
It aims to get doctors to identify the trigger of the pain rather than just prescribing painkillers.