Complicated Migraine

I am new on here. At the end of June last year I was admitted to hospital with a suspected TIA. CT scan and Doppler scan done on admission, all clear. I had an MRI three weeks later. That took until the middle of August to get my results. All clear and the hospital discharged me and said the episode was due to migraine. I have suffered with migraine nearly all my life, but nothing like that. I wasn't happy so I went to see a Neurologist and he sat and listened to me and at the end of the consultant did say I had classis migraine which mimic a stroke. He didn't know why the symptoms had gotten worse. He did say it was in your genes and there was no cure for it. He suggested that I go on candesartan, which is prescripted for high blood pressure but is known to help migraine symstoms. Because I was already taking blood pressure medication, which he took me off, it made sense not to take an extra tablet. From July until end of November I was getting symptoms everyday, (and my blood pressure was very high for the first three/four weeks of the taking it) not always the headache, numbness in my face, pains and needles in the hand, visual disturbances, jumbled speech, flashing lights. Then in December I noticed that I only get them every two or three weeks, and they seem to be improving with time. However, a week ago I woke up with my right arm feeling strange and weaker than my left. This lasted only approx an hour, but happened three days running. I have also smelt cigarette smoke in my house and we are a non smoking household. Has anyone else smelt things that they cannot explain? After reading some of the post on here I know I am luckier than most. I know that tiredness and stress affect me and I have learnt to stop and rest when I need too. I work from home a lot of the time and work have been very understanding about everything. Wishing everyone good health and I hope you find some relieve from these dreadful migraines.

17 Replies

  • Hi, you may need to be tested for Hughes Syndrome/APS. Have you any relatives past or present with autoimmune diseases including thyroid, heart attacks or strokes at an early age or a history of miscarriages etc? MaryF

  • Hi Mary, thanks for the reply. No history of any of the above.

  • ok maybe unlikely then, but no harm in asking your GP or consultant to test your for Hughes Syndrome/APS, however do the tests the hospital as samples taken are time sensitive. It does not always run in families, can be a stand alone case, Here are the tests:

    Anticardiolipin Antibodies (aCL)


    Sometimes referred to as Antiphospholipid

    Positive in 80% of cases

    Higher Levels = Higher risk of Thrombosis

    Lupus Anticoagulant (LA) **


    Positive in 30-40% of cases

    Cannot be used if patient is on warfarin



    This is a newer test, not routinely performed, but occasionally positivite when the above two tests are negative

    Do all three. MaryF

  • MaryF is there anything that would skew the results of the tests other than Warfarin? I'm thinking particularly of 'blood thinning' supplements or supplements that affect coagulation such as fish oil, flaxseed oil, magnesium et al. Also aspirin.

  • I think it is just the Warfarin, however of course if you were to add supplements in suddenly the actual INR would be affected.


  • Thanks Mary. And is the INR measured as part of the tests? Is that what the lupus anti coagulant does?

  • certainly antibody levels are looked at. MaryF

  • To help you further, in terms of why these tests are ordered and used:


  • It's crazy I know but things that work for me only tend to for a certain amount of time before I go back to square step is multiple nerve block injections.

  • Smelling phantom cigarette smoke: I have this too. I thought it was just me but someone posted here a while back and lots of people with migraine say they have it - it is part of the migraine aura. No idea why. It's a strange one. Smells other people barely notice smell very strong to me as well.

  • cigar smoke !! I thought i was being checked on by my deceased disappointing ;)

  • Hi, I thought I was being checked on by my deceased brother when I first smelt it, has it was only a few weeks after he died. Now I'm thinking it was because I was tired and stressed which are both triggers for me. I am quite disappointed to think it is my migraine.

  • Haha - yes, I must admit I thought of my grandfather as well the first few times!

    But I also smell it whenever I get in my car - migraine or not. I think the previous owner must have smoked and I have a heightened sense of smell, as nobody else notices.

  • The funny thing is I only get the smell of cigarettes a migraine has never followed. But I do know you can have aura without headache.

  • I had a similar experience but not hospitalised. Saw neurologist and having MRI next week. Neurologist thought it was a type of migraine and asked me to go on daily meds. Have not started on them but after a lot of investigation and research have been having fresh ginger in hot water every day. Vitamin B2 and b12 and (touch wood) only 1 migraine this week. So going to stick with this and see how I go. I too smell cigarette smoke and weird tastes but never tied it in.

  • Have you been tested for Peripheral Neuropathy for the weakness and numbness in your extremities? It usually comes with diabetes, but doesn't have to.

  • That is really weird. I thought I was the only one who could smell cigarettes. I was just about to go in through my front door and there was a smell just like a cigarette that someone had just put out. It was quite strong. Another time I got into my car and I Really believed someone had just been smoking. I have had my car from new and nobody has ever smoked in it. I have had many experiences with smelling smoke. I just thought it was my imagination. At least I now have an explanation.

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