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Aura (symptom)

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Migraine with aura (classical migraine)
ICD-10 G431
ICD-9 346.0
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An aura is the perceptual disturbance experienced by some migraine sufferers before a migraine headache, and the telltale sensation experienced by some people with epilepsy before a seizure. It often manifests as the perception of a strange light or an unpleasant smell.

An aura does not necessitate the onset of either a migraine or a seizure and not everyone who suffers from migraines or seizures will experience auras. Though auras tend to be an unpleasant and irritating sensation, they can be beneficial. Most injuries from seizures occur when there is no warning. Auras allow epileptics time to prevent injury to themselves. The time between the appearance of the aura and the onset of a migraine or seizure can be anything from a few seconds up to an hour. Most people who have auras have the same type of aura every time.

An aura sensation can include:

  • Visual Changes.
    • Bright lights.
    • Zigzag lines.
    • Distortions in the size or shape of object.
    • Slowly spreading spots.
    • Shimmering, pulsating patches, often curved.
    • Blind or dark spots in the field of vision.
    • Total temporary monocular (in one eye) blindness. (in retinal migraine)[1]
  • Hearing voices or sounds (auditory hallucinations).
  • Strange smells (olfactory hallucinations).
  • Feelings of numbness or tingling on one side of the face or body.
  • Feeling separated from one's body.
  • Anxiety or fear.
  • Nausea.
  • Weakness, unsteadiness.
  • Being unable to understand or comprehend spoken words during and after the aura.

See also


  1. Robert, Teri. "Living Well With Migraine Disease and Headaches." New York. HarperCollins. 2004.

External links

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