Obesity Linked to Episodic Migraines


Obesity has been linked to many health conditions and the latest of these is migraine headache. Recent research, published in the journal Neurology, has built on previous research undertaken in this area and has shown statistically significant results.
The team at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, headed by Lee Peterlin, studied 3862 volunteers with an average age of 47. The volunteers were of various weights, ethnicities and both men and women were studied. Such a broad approach to research is done in the hope a relative trend or pattern will emerge, leading to a defined focus area for future studies. Of the participants that were obese, 81% of them suffered from episodic migraines. Episodic migraines are classified as migraines that occur fewer than 14 times per calendar month.
The research confirmed that women are far more likely to suffer from migraine than men (in fact the most affected research group were white women under the age of 50, confirming links to high-oestrogen levels already evaluated).
The research is positive as obesity is a risk factor that can be modified and controlled, which would hopefully lead to a reduction in symptoms and less medication need. It is also important reading for healthcare practitioners as some anti-migraine medication can lead to weight gain and doctors should be cautious about prescribing such medication to people who are already obese.
Future work could involve researching the effect of weight loss on individuals who suffer from episodic migraine. This is the latest in a flurry of recent published work into migraines, including some last week that showed that severe migraines can alter the long-term structure of the brain and may increase the risk of brain lesions.
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Image is provided courtesy of Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./BlendImages/Corbis


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