Being overweight or underweight ups the risk of migraines

19 April 2017

Being overweight or underweight can increase the risk of suffering migraines, according to new research.

Those who suffer from the horrible head pains, which can also trigger nausea, vomiting and extra sensitivity to sound or light, know how hard it is to go about daily life when one strikes. But they may not have realised how weight impacts them.

Doctor B. Lee Peterlin of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the American Academy of Neurology and his team looked at 12 studies on migraines and body mass index (BMI) on 288,981 patients.

Accordingly, the researchers found the people who were obese were 27 percent more likely to suffer migraines than those who were a normal weight, while underweight participants were 13 percent more likely than average-weight individuals. A BMI of over 30 was classed as overweight, while underweight was those with a BMI less than 18.5.

Read more: BMI ‘isn’t an accurate indicator of health’

Dr Peterlin noted the risk between obesity and migraine was moderate and similar in size to the link between a migraine and bipolar disorder and ischemic heart disease, which gives people recurring discomfort or chest pain as blood isn’t pumped through the heart properly.

She also explained how sex and age were important variables too, explaining: "This makes sense, as the risk entailed by obesity and the risk of a migraine is different in women and men and in younger and older people. Both obesity disease risk and the occurrence of a migraine is more common in women and in younger people."

While she’s aware more research needs to be conducted to determine whether people should be advised to put on or lose weight to lower their chances of migraines, she determines these results, published in Neurology, should be taken on board by doctors and patients alike.

Read more: Energising diets: Which foods to eat for an energy boost

It should be noted that other factors play part in migraines too, like medication or other conditions, and that many of the people involved in the studies self-reported their BMI and migraine severity.

© Cover Media

Find Love!