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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4058
Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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My husband is 55 and in excellent health. Only has seasonal

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My husband is 55 and in excellent health. Only has seasonal allergies. His height is 6 feet and weighs 187 lbs. he has been having some visual "auras" these past two years very very infrequently. Let me describe as he has reported to me. He says it occurs in the left field of vision and is like a quarter moon in shape. He says it is a bright light and also sometimes has wiggly lines in the far left quarter of vision. Weve noticed it happens when his stress has been very hi. It happened when he was especially stresed when I was very sick for several weeks with Lupus complications. Another time it coincided at a time when he was having extremely difficult time with a brother who was causing his elderly parents undue problems. It has happened several times when I have been very ill with Lupus so not just once. Now he had another "event" and its because he has been sitting at his mothers bedside at Hospice as his mother was in process of dying; and it happened again the day after she passed and his trouble brother made inheritance demands which were not his to have. Unfortunately my husband was named trustee by his parents so he had to settle that matter. Stressful. He says it lasts several minutes (2-4) and he pulls over if driving or sits down if walking and it happens. Im worried. He hasnt shared it with his Internist. Typical Male... He keeps things to himself not wanting to "appear weak" he says!! He has no headache so seems different from a normal migraine. But should he be seen for this or is it a stress related symptom which is okay to not have it investigated further? Im not one to "complain" to my docs either over things because with Lupus things are always hurting or happening from time to time and ive learned when to inform and when not to worry. But, hubby is healthy and I dont want us overlooking anything that could be harmful to my most wonderful and beloved husband. I lov this man! So i told him I would ask you if it merits tests because he is concerned they will immediately say he needs an MRI and he feels those are called for way too often these days. (he sees me getting them or CT tests when I show up at the ER almost every time but ive explained its because I have history of bowel impactions and bowel obstructions (GI involvement sadly) and cerebritis or vasculitis. So it is kinda necessary! But he sees it and feels he shouldnt need it because he is never sick besides allergies and feels it is over prescribed. Sorry. I try to explain some are sicker and an x ray usually isnt enough. But what do u think can cause his visual disturbance?
Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer Health.

This does sound like a classic migraine aura. And it is true, you do not have to have an actual migraine headache to get these auras. This is described in the literature, but in addition I have unfortunately experienced this myself.

There are always exceptions though, and there are a few dangers associated with migraines so it would indeed be recommended that he report it to his physician (unless he has other symptoms indicating something beyond a migraine syndrome, no cat scan or MRI will be necessarily be deemed necessary. Even if he was found to have other neurological symptoms and he is offered a CT or MRI, he has the right to weigh the pro's and con's and decide whether he agrees to it or not.

It is known that those with migraines have a higher risk of stroke. This does not mean he will have a stroke, but it does give another reason that he should tell his doctor about his symptom. Today, we are finding out more and more that inflammation is an underlying source of many illnesses. This plays a part in migraines (inflammation of the ocular nerve may be related to visual auras) although there are other factors such as genetics and of course, stress.

A blood test called a c-reactive protein (CRP) could help to determine whether he has a high degree of inflammation - which if so puts him at higher risk for cardiovascular events (such as stroke, heart attack, blood clots). These problems can be treated, and thus in the long run the aura may be a warning symptom that, if he takes action, may prevent him from succumbing to more serious conditions.

Does the aura present any problem for him at all? Typically it is at least disturbing, and can even be dangerous if one occurs while driving. Some people such as your husband don't get a migraine headache after an aura, but still may have a feeling of exhaustion afterwords (It is more rare but there are some people that don't have any ill symptoms at all related to the migraine aura.)

If he is having any discomfort along or after the aura, the first line of treatment is to take Ibuprofen. This in many cases will stop the aura and prevent any further sequelae. So, at the first moment he sees an aura beginning, he can take Ibuprofen, and this should help to shorten the aura at least - it will often prevent a migraine from occurring in those that get migraines and/or exhaustion after an aura.

A food diary is recommended by many physicians when evaluating migraines, because migraines in some people have been found to be related to food intolerances or allergies (allergies are a type of inflammatory reaction as well) Relaxation techniques such deep breathing can a help to decrease tension and stress.

If he has not checked his blood pressure recently, it would be important to do so. Blood pressure can go up to dangerous levels in some people having migraines, and if he has blood pressure elevation at other times, this will need to be addressed.

Please reply if you have further questions about this, I am more than happy to discuss this further with you. And, if I do not get back to you right after you respond, due to the time of day, I will get back within a few hours at least.

Susan Ivy and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Hello, I hope you and your husband are well.

Has your husband seen the physician yet? Were any tests performed? You are not required to reply, but if you would like it helps us to know outcome (there is no charge)