Signs and symptoms associated with aura:
- Visual disturbance (e.g., blind spots, flashing lights, zigzag pattern, and double vision)
- Sensory loss (e.g., numbness or paresthesias of the face or an extremity)
- Difficulty with speech (which usually occur along with right-sided weakness)
- Hemiparesis (weakness of one limb or one side of the body)
- Impaired consciousness
- Memory loss
Motor weakness is always associated with at least another aura symptom. People with hemiplegic migraine often describe a typical sensory aura that starts as tingling in one of the fingers and gradually progresses to the other fingers, up to the arm, and then affects the face, tongue, and later the body and leg. In some patients, paresthesias (e.g., tingling) is followed by numbness. For other people sensory loss (e.g., numbness) is always predominant.
Motor weakness involves areas affected by sensory symptoms and varies from mild clumsiness to complete deficit. Sensory-motor symptoms usually start in one hand and gradually spread up to the arm and the face. These symptoms can be restricted to one limb or can spread all over one side of the body. They can affect both sides of the body, occurring simultaneously or in succession, or remain unilateral, switching side from attack to attack, or always involving the same side. Speech disturbances mostly affect expression, with rare comprehension impairment.
Neurologic signs and symptoms can last for hours to days. These symptoms can outlast headache. Attention and memory loss can last weeks to months. Permanent motor, sensory, language, or visual symptoms are extremely rare. Some people with the familial form of hemiplegic migraine develop mild ataxia, usually in adulthood.
- Jen JC. Familial Hemiplegic Migraine. GeneReviews. September 2009; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1388/#fhm.Clinical_Description. Accessed 8/26/2013.