Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Migraine Awareness Month #25: Elvis Presley, My Favorite Historical Figure with Migraines

Today's writing prompt comes from the movie Lincoln, and asks Who's your favorite historical figure who lived with Migraine or another Headache Disorder?  

Did you know Elvis Presley had migraines?  Did you know he didn't die the way you think he died?  He wasn't the typical superstar who overdosed on too much party drugs?  He might have been suffering from a migraine, and simply have taken his migraine meds, and either overdosed, or died as a complication of the migraine?

Yes, it's true.  See, Elvis was a Migraineur.  It's not well known by the general public, but the National Migraine Association:  MAGNUM, went on a mission to find out for sure if Elvis suffered from Migraines or not.  MAGNUM's Executive Director, Michael John Coleman, spent weeks in Memphis trying to find out who he should interview to know for sure what Elvis's health condition really was.  The press release can be found here.  What he found, after interviewing Elvis's personal physician, was that Elvis had been hospitalized or treated many times for conditions related to headache or vision problems (aura).  Elvis was also being treated with the only migraine abortive available at that time, an ergotomine, that tests in the blood as LSD.  He was on the preventative Propanolol, a preventative that is even used to this day.

Guess what Elvis had in his blood at the time of his death?  LSD, Propanolol, Demerol (a common painkiller) and anti-emetics, which Migraineurs often take to calm the nausea that accompanies migraine.  Now, why would he take the party drug LSD and anti-emetics together?   He wouldn't.  But he would take his migraine medicine, the ergotomine DHE and an anti-emetic to treat his migraine.  And that ergotomine would show up in his blood as LSD later, leading everyone to believe he overdosed on LSD.

Elvis has always been my favorite historical Migraineur.  I'm not sure why.  There are others who accomplished more serious tasks.  Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Mary Todd Lincoln, many others....  But I think the mystery surrounding Elvis intrigues me.  That many people don't know he was a Migraineur intrigues me.  I love to tell the story and see the surprise on people's faces.

So now, "Don't be Cruel" and definitely don't be a "Hard-Headed Woman" (or man) and read the proof provided in the link above to see that Elvis was indeed a migraine sufferer and understand why he might be my favorite historical figure.

As always, thanks for reading.

June, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders.  The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is issued by FightingHeadacheDisorders.com

1 comment:

  1. Love Elvis, I myself have been suffering with migraines my entire life . I'm always curious to see why and how Elvis passed. Maybe if he got the treatment like we have today he still would've been with us .