Chapter 1, Episode 2: What is Migraine with Aura?


This content has been medically reviewed by Dr. Rashmi Halker-Singh.

Migraine with aura is a type of migraine attack that is accompanied by a sensory disturbance called an aura. 

The most common type of aura is a visual disturbance which can range from seeing spots, bright dots, flashes of lights, zig zags to changes in vision

Other types of auras include phantom smells, confused thinking, ringing in the ears, dizziness, disrupted speech, muscle weakness, and fatigue. 

About 25 to 30 percent of people with migraine experience aura. 

Auras can be a warning that a headache and other migraine symptoms are coming but it may also occur during a headache.

There is evidence that migraine with aura is caused by an electrical or chemical wave moving across the brain. 

The part of the brain where the wave spreads may determine the type of symptoms one might experience.

This wave can happen in areas of the brain that process sensory signals, speech centers or centers that control movement.

An aura does not have to occur with every migraine attack. In addition, about five percent of people with aura never have a headache.   

Women who have migraine with aura have twice the risk of stroke compared to those without migraine. 

Those who have an aura that lasts longer than 60 minutes should seek prompt medical attention.

Treatments for migraine with aura are generally the same as those for classic migraine. Some abortive options include analgesics, NSAIDs, triptans and gepants. Preventive options include antidepressants, CGRP monoclonal antibodies, beta-blockers and Botox.

This video is sponsored in part by Amgen, Abbvie, Lilly, Lundbeck, Biohaven, and Impel Pharmaceuticals.

*The contents of this video are intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. AMD does not recommend or endorse any treatment, products, or procedures mentioned. Reliance on any information provided by this content is solely at your own risk.