Genetics and Migraines

At Advanced Radiology, we get a lot of questions about migraines. What causes them? Why do migraine triggers affect people so differently? One question we hear particularly frequently: Are migraines hereditary?

What’s DNA Got to Do With It?

In recent years, researchers have connected specific genes to the development of migraines. It is not the presence of these genes that causes the condition, but rather mutations in particular chromosomes that lead to the development of migraines.

These chromosomal changes are genetic and passed to you from your parents, just like your hair or eye color. Between 80 and 90 percent of people with migraines report family members have migraines, too.

If one parent suffered from migraines, the chance of you inheriting migraines is around 50 percent. If both of your parents experienced migraines, the chance of you inheriting the condition is 75 percent.

Mutations in the genes cause the body to react to migraine triggers or lead to the development of health conditions that cause migraines.

Migraine With Aura

One particular type of migraine that researchers have found to be inherited is the familial hemiplegic migraine with aura. Hemiplegic migraines are often serious health events that cause severe head pain, sensitivity to light and sound, muscle weakness, and paralysis that can mimic the effects of a stroke.

People who suffer from hemiplegic migraines with aura also experience loss of vision, blind spots, flashing lights and even auditory hallucinations.

What This Means For You

While researchers are still working on new ways to treat migraines, knowing that your migraine may be inherited can help you take better care of yourself. Advanced Radiology treats migraines using the SPG block procedure, in which a small catheter is inserted into the nasal cavity to deliver anesthesia directly to the sphenopalatine ganglion, or SPG. The block is effective for many people in stopping migraine pain for weeks or months at a time.

Advanced Radiology recommends these steps:

    • Start investigating your family history of migraines by asking relatives about their experience with migraines.
    • Ask questions about their triggers, types of pain, where their pain is and if they experience aura with their migraine.
    • Keep a migraine diary to record potential triggers, symptoms and effective treatments.
    • Share with your doctor information about your migraine and your family history of migraines.
    • Ask Advanced Radiology about the SPG block procedure. 

Do you suffer from migraines? Contact Advanced Radiology at 855-201-1519 to learn about your options to live migraine free.