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Dec 01, 2015 06:16 AM EST

Asthma Sufferers are prone to chronic migraines


A new study suggests that people who suffer from occasional migraines may become susceptible to chronic migraine attacks later on if they have a pre-exisiting asthma condition, Science World Report reports.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati teamed up with scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Montefiore Headache Center and Vedanta Research to conduct the study.

"If you have asthma along with episodic or occasional migraine, then your headaches are more likely to evolve into a more disabling form known as chronic migraine," Vincent Martin, a professor of medicine in Cincinnati's Division of General Internal Medicine, co-director of the Headache and Facial Pain Program at the UC Neuroscience Institute and lead author in the study said.

For the study, the researchers observed 4,500 people who had suffered from episodic attacks of migraine or less than 15 attacks of headaches per month in 2008. They took data from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study, where the participants answered questions in 2008 and 2009.

"Migraine and asthma are disorders that involve inflammation and activation of smooth muscle either in blood vessels or in the airways," Lipton, of Albert Einstein College and one of the lead researchers, said.

"Therefore, asthma-related inflammation may lead to migraine progression." 

The team noticed that 5.4 percent of participants with asthma were suffering newly onset chronic migraine, whereas only 2.5 percent of those without asthma progressed to chronic migraine.

"In this study, persons with episodic migraine and asthma at baseline were more than twice as likely to develop chronic migraine after one year of follow-up as compared to those with episodic migraine but not asthma," Martin said. "The strength of the relationship is robust; asthma was a stronger predictor of chronic migraine than depression, which other studies have found to be one of the most potent conditions associated with the future development of chronic migraine." 

Researchers believe that the relationship between asthma and chronic migraine may be due to the fact that asthma sufferers are more likely to have allergies, which are related to chronic headaches.

The team noted that prescribing preventative medications to asthma patients for chronic headaches might prevent the incidence of headaches in them.

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