Hemiplegic migraine is rare and has many symptoms, including weakness and vision changes. Some of these can be severe and lead to permanent or lasting damage.

Hemiplegic migraine attacks aren’t typically dangerous, but severe cases can involve seizures or coma.

Hemiplegic migraine is very rare, so there’s limited research on the topic. But this article explores some of the severe symptoms of hemiplegic migraine, including its rare complications.

One defining symptom of hemiplegic migraine is weakness, which typically occurs on one side of the body.

The disabling symptom can affect your ability to walk, use your hands, or perform other daily activities. In some cases, the weakness can be so severe that it mimics the symptoms of a stroke. This can lead to unnecessary treatments and hospitalizations.

The sudden onset of this weakness can be dangerous if you are engaged in activities such as operating heavy machinery. Take precautions if you know you are at risk for hemiplegic migraine.

Despite these risks, the weakness caused by hemiplegic migraine typically resolves once the headache phase of the migraine is complete.

You may experience temporary vision loss during a hemiplegic migraine. This can range from mild visual disturbances to blindness in one or both eyes. The duration of this vision loss can vary but typically lasts for the length of the migraine attack, which can be several hours.

This is serious because of the immediate dangers it presents. If you are driving, operating machinery, or even just crossing the road, sudden vision loss can put you and others at risk.

Imbalance is another symptom that can occur during a hemiplegic migraine. This can result in difficulty standing or walking and can last for the duration of the migraine attack, which might be several hours.

The danger is a higher risk of falls. This can lead to severe injuries, including broken bones and head trauma.

Issues with language, or aphasia, can be a symptom of hemiplegic migraine. This may involve difficulty speaking, understanding speech, or finding the right words. This symptom typically lasts for the duration of the migraine attack, which might be several hours.

Problems with language can pose serious challenges in many situations. For instance, if you cannot communicate effectively, it could lead to misunderstandings or accidents. It can create a sense of fear and confusion, especially if you can’t seek help or explain what’s happening to you.

Confusion is a potential symptom of hemiplegic migraine. This can manifest as disorientation, difficulty understanding what’s happening around you, or problems with your memory. This symptom typically lasts for the duration of the migraine attack.

Confusion can impair your judgment and decision-making abilities. This could lead to potential risks, such as the accidental misuse of medications. Confusion can also mimic severe conditions like stroke, leading to unnecessary treatments or anxiety.

Unlike traditional migraine attacks, which last a few hours or days, symptoms of a hemiplegic migraine episode can sometimes last for several days or weeks.

Prolonged symptoms can be dangerous because they can disrupt your daily activities and pose safety risks. For example, if you experience weakness or paralysis, you might be unable to work or drive for several weeks.

Seizures are a concerning symptom in some cases of hemiplegic migraine. These uncontrollable periods of rapid and irregular brain activity can cause physical convulsions, changes in behavior, and a loss of consciousness. The duration of seizures can vary significantly, ranging from a few seconds to several minutes.

The danger of seizures lies in the potential for injury during an episode, including falls or accidents. Seizures also increase your risk of epilepsy, a condition in which seizures can last longer than 5 minutes or occur close together, which can be life threatening.

Though rare, a severe hemiplegic migraine episode can result in a coma, a deep state of prolonged unconsciousness. When you’re in a coma, you’re alive, but you can’t wake up. The duration of a coma typically lasts a few weeks, but it can vary depending on the severity.

The danger of a coma involves the loss of consciousness and minimal brain activity, which can lead to complications such as further brain injury.

Though not common, severe episodes of hemiplegic migraine can lead to damage in the cerebellum, an area of your brain that plays a vital role in movement, balance, and coordination. The severity of this damage can vary widely, depending on your overall health.

Hemiplegic migraine is rare, and unlike typical migraine headaches, it can have symptoms that last for days or weeks at a time. Some of these, such as seizures and weakness, can be severe.

If you have a history or risk of hemiplegic migraine episodes, speak with a doctor.