Suffering trigeminal neuralgia? Brace for more discomfort during winter, say experts

Suffering trigeminal neuralgia? Brace for more discomfort during winter, say experts

New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) As the winter chill approaches, individuals battling trigeminal neuralgia, a neurological disorder known for its excruciating facial pain akin to an electric shock, may have to brace themselves for heightened discomfort.

According to experts, there is a compelling correlation between cold weather and exacerbation of trigeminal neuralgia.

The debilitating condition affects a number of people in India, with varying prevalence and incidence rates, they said, citing different studies.

Dr Manish Vaish, Senior Director, Neurosurgery, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali said, 'According to various sources, the prevalence of trigeminal neuralgia varies widely, with lifetime prevalence rates estimated between 0.16 percent and 0.3 percent and annual incidence rates ranging from 4 to 29 per 100,000 person-year. Notably, this condition exhibits a higher prevalence among women than men, with a ratio of 3:2.' Furthermore, the incidence of trigeminal neuralgia escalates with age, typically manifesting in the age group of 53 to 57 years, Dr Vaish said.

While the epidemiology of the disease in India remains relatively understudied, emerging reports suggest similarities with global trends.  A comprehensive study conducted at a tertiary care hospital in India, encompassing 100 patients with trigeminal neuralgia, unveiled a mean onset age of 54.8 years, with a female to male ratio of 1.6:1, Dr Vaish said.

Similarly, another study involving 200 patients in a neurosurgery department in India disclosed a mean onset age of 49.9 years, with a female to male ratio of 1.4:1. 'Both studies underscored the mandibular branch as the most commonly affected branch of the trigeminal nerve, followed by the maxillary and ophthalmic branches,' he stated.

Dr Yashpal Singh Bundela, Senior Consultant, Sushrut Brain and Spine, Delhi, said, 'The impact of cold weather on trigeminal neuralgia is significant. Cold can trigger nerve impulses, leading to the characteristic stabbing pain in the face. Understanding this connection is crucial in managing the condition effectively, especially during winter. The statistics underscore the pressing need for targeted interventions, especially considering the impact of weather on the exacerbation of this condition.' In light of the complex interplay between trigeminal neuralgia and weather, experts continue to explore advanced neurosurgical approaches, notably Microvascular Decompression (MVD), as a beacon of hope for patients seeking respite from the relentless agony associated with this neurological disorder.

'The epidemiological insights further emphasize the urgency to refine and develop innovative treatment modalities like Microvascular Decompression, offering a glimpse of hope for patients navigating the daily challenges imposed by trigeminal neuralgia,' Dr Bundela emphasised.

As research delves deeper into the correlations between weather, demographics, and trigeminal neuralgia, ongoing efforts aim to provide comprehensive solutions for patients grappling with this excruciating condition, he said. PTI PLB  KVK KVK

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