Obesity Doubles a Person’s Chances of Suffering from Migraines, Study


Obesity causes frequent migraines, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. The findings appear in the online edition of Neurology.

Researchers arrived at the conclusion after asking 3,862 participants to fill out a survey with information on their height, weight and frequency of migraine attacks. The average age of the participants was 47. Among the 3862 people, 1,044 participants were obese, and 188 of the participants had occasional, or episodic, migraine, equivalent to 14 or fewer migraine headaches per month.

They found that obese people with a body mass index of 30 or higher are 81 percent more likely to suffer from episodic migraines compared to people with normal weight.

According to the Washington Post, migraines or frequent severe headaches are characterized by throbbing pain, often on just one side of the head; sensitivity to light and sounds and nauseated symptoms.

Medical staff hasn't yet identified the exact cause of migraines and no cure has been found yet. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from migraines; about 75 percent of them are women.

Majority of migraine sufferers are affected with episodic migraines that is characterized with severe headaches for around 15 days a month. On the other hand, people with chronic migraines fall sick for more than half of the days in the month.

 "These results suggest that doctors should promote healthy lifestyle choices for diet and exercise in people with episodic migraine," said study author B. Lee Peterlin. "More research is needed to evaluate whether weight loss programs can be helpful in overweight and obese people with episodic migraine."

Researchers also found that the link between obesity and migraines is superior for those under the age of 50. It was higher in white women younger than 50.

They recommend weight loss combined with healthy eating to obese people suffering from migraines to fight and reduce the disorder.

"Previous studies have shown a link between people with chronic migraines and obesity, but the research has been conflicting on whether that link existed for those with less frequent attacks," said Lee. "As obesity is a risk factor that can potentially be modified and since some medications can lead to weight gain or loss, this is important for people with migraines and their doctors."

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