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article imageBody Mass Index could be a migraine risk factor

By Tim Sandle     Apr 29, 2017 in Health
There are multiple reasons for migraines, ranging from stress to genetics. A new factor to consider could be body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) according to a new study.
One established fact about migraines, which affect about 10 percent of the population, is that the overwhelming majority of suffers are women (potential a ratio of 70 percent women to 30 percent men). With this there also appears to be some form of genetic link, given there is often a family history. Aside from this, there appears to be no one specific cause although there are several identified influencing factors.
READ MORE: A new study shows that dopamine levels in the brain fall and fluctuate at different times during a migraine headache. The research suggests that migraines are linked to reward-motivated behavior.
A new study considers a new risk factor: body mass index. The research is a meta-study, meaning that several studies have been reviewed to determine if a common pattern can be meaningfully discerned. The review involved an analysis of 288,981 people. The data was shifted for age and sex, and then for body weight. The sorted data was then studied for migraine rates.
The outcome of the review that both obesity and being underweight as risk factors for migraines. Here:
Obese people were 27 percent more likely to have migraine than people of normal weight. Overweight is in relation to having a body mass index of 30 and above.
Being underweight led to a 13 percent higher likelihood of migraine pain than a person whose weight was in the normal range. Underweight is defined as a person with a body mass index of 18.5 and below.
Speaking about this finding to the science site Laboratory Roots, lead researcher Dr. B. Lee Peterlin, who works at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine stated: “As obesity and being underweight are potentially modifiable risk factors for migraine, awareness of these risk factors is vital for both people with migraine and doctors.”
READ MORE: Researchers have discovered that anxiety disorder is more common among people who have migraines compared with than those without migraines.
Despite the strong indicator with the data, Dr. Peterlin notes that: “More research is needed to determine whether efforts to help people lose or gain weight could lower their risk for migraine.” This hesitancy is perhaps because the indications with body mass index are present but the reasons are unclear. It might be that other factors, which influence body mass index (such as being depressed) are the true trigger factors.
The research is published in the journal Neurology, with the research paper titled “Body composition status and the risk of migraine.”
More about Migraine, Body mass index, Headache, Weight, Obesity
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