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Migraine Headaches Linked To Obesity

Migraine Headaches Linked To Obesity – Clinicians have long noted the connection between migraine and obesity. “Most neurologists have seen enough studies that show the link between obesity and migraine,” shared Sylvia Lucas, MD, PhD, clinical professor of neurology, specializing in headaches, at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Indeed, previous studies have indicated that weight loss may reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks. A 2017 meta-analysis of weight and migraine found that the risk of migraine increased by 27% in those adults with obesity.

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However, the many co-morbidities associated with both migraine and obesity can make it difficult to tease out the relationships between various factors. For example, both obesity and migraine are associated with inflammation, lack of physical activity, and psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.

Any effect of weight loss on migraine, therefore, could be due to any of these inter-related factors.

Shannon Hall, CRNP, practices neurology at the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center. She has observed a dramatic difference in her migraine patients when they lose weight. “I see so many patients who come back after bariatric surgery and have no more headaches. But we don’t know why,” she said. “There are just too many factors that could be playing a role.”

It was with these complications in mind that researchers, led by Claudio Pagano, at the University of Padua in Italy, undertook a meta-analysis to examine the impact of weight loss on migraine frequency and severity. In the process, the researchers also looked at the amount of weight change and the methods of weight reduction to see if those actions had any effect on headaches. Their findings led to potential clues about the mechanisms involved. Continue reading

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