Obesity appears to increase the risk of episodic migraine, according to a study.
Previous studies have shown a link between people with chronic migraine and obesity, but the research has been conflicting on whether that link existed for those with less frequent attacks, B. Lee Peterlin, DO, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a news release. As obesity is a risk factor that can potentially be modified and since some medications for migraine can lead to weight gain or loss, this is important information.
For the study, published Sept. 11 on the website of the journal Neurology, 3,862 people with an average age of 47 filled out surveys with information on height, weight and migraines. A total of 1,044 participants were obese and 188 had episodic migraine, defined as 14 or fewer migraine headaches per month.
Obese people were 81% more likely to have episodic migraine (of any frequency) as compared with people of normal weight.
These results suggest that doctors should promote healthy lifestyle choices for diet and exercise in people with episodic migraine, Peterlin said. More research is needed to evaluate whether weight-loss programs can be helpful in overweight and obese people with episodic migraine.
Peterlin said the results also indicate the link between episodic migraine and obesity is stronger in those younger than 50, the years when migraine is most prevalent, as compared with people older than 50. The link also is stronger in whites than in people of other races, and stronger in women than in men.
Neurology is the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Study abstract: www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/09/11/WNL.0b013e3182a824f7.abstract.