People's Pharmacy

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

October 21, 2005|By JOE AND TERESA GRAEDON

I suffered from migraine headaches for more than 10 years. I saw several neurologists, but my intense headaches forced me to take early retirement.

In the fall of 2002, I went from three headaches a week to almost nonstop. That November, I had only three days without headaches. I took migraine medications like Frova, Maxalt and Imitrex, but I mostly lay in bed in a dark room.

I was at my wits' end. Then my family doctor suggested a gluten-free diet. Gradually my headaches became less frequent, and after several months I was 98 percent headache-free.

I feel I was given a new life! Please share my story so others can benefit.

Migraine is not often recognized as a symptom of celiac disease, but we have heard from others like you who suffered until they eliminated gluten from their diets. Celiac is more common than thought.

In this condition, sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) can result in symptoms such as fatigue, anemia, nerve pain, memory loss, osteoporosis, infertility, flatulence, diarrhea and digestive-tract distress.

I know that the precooked meals, pretzels and soup I enjoy have a lot of sodium. I drink water to balance it out. Is this right?

Fluid retention and high blood pressure are the most likely consequences of excessive sodium. Thirst is the body's way of correcting an imbalance. Drinking extra water, though, might not counteract excessive sodium intake.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them via their Web site: peoplespharmacy.org.

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