This is a rare condition which has been linked to a genetic abnormality and it is being more readily diagnosed by the medical profession in the UK. Symptoms include temporary paralysis down one side of the body, which can last for several days. Other symptoms include vertigo or difficulty walking, double vision or blindness, hearing impairment, numbness around the mouth leading to trouble speaking or swallowing. These symptoms are often associated with a severe one-sided headache. This form of migraine may be confused with a stroke, but the effects are usually fully reversible and there are specific treatments available
What causes the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine?
Migraine is believed to be caused by the release of a chemical called serotonin or 5HT into the bloodstream from its storage sites in the body, resulting in changes in the neurotransmitters and blood vessels in the brain. Exactly what causes this to happen is a subject for research and debate; however, due to these irregular changes, temporary paralysis is known to present during some migraine attacks.
There are two types of hemiplegic migraine:
Familial hemiplegic migraine is where migraine attacks occur in two or more people in the same family and every individual experiences weakness on one side of the body as a symptom with their migraine. Sporadic hemiplegic migraine is where someone experiences all the physical symptoms of familial hemiplegic migraine but doesn't have a known connection within their family. The cause of this type of hemiplegic migraine is unknown; some are due to new or so called 'sporadic' gene mutations.