Being overweight or underweight can mount migraines risk
ISLAMABAD (Online) – A new study concludes that being overweight or underweight may increase your risk of migraines. Some headache sufferers and a dietitian weigh in on the topic. Anyone who has ever experienced debilitating migraines has likely spent a lot of time talking to doctors to figure out the root cause of the pain.
This research is still new, and B. Lee Peterlin, DO, director of headache research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a study co-author, was quick to point out that.
“More research is needed to determine whether efforts to help people lose or gain weight could lower their risk for migraine,” Peterlin said in a press statement.
However, she noted, it’s important for people to know about the research.
“As obesity and being underweight are potentially modifiable risk factors for migraine, awareness of these risk factors is vital for both people with migraines and doctors,” she said.
“The main takeaway for me is that this is just another reason to make your health a priority by engaging in behaviors that will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, especially if you suffer from migraines,” she said.
“I would have more of an inclination to say what we are seeing here is a correlation,” she added, “but I’m with the authors — more research is needed to determine if there is a true correlation and to figure out what might be driving that.”
Willetts said she is encouraged that the meta-analysis “is moving the knowledge forward and setting up future researchers to come in and design studies to better evaluate the mechanisms driving this association.”
“I think it would be interesting to see research studies designed to measure actual body fat via a DEXA scan versus relying on self-reported height and weight data to better categorize research participants and remove some limitations,” she noted.
“Do your best to identify what triggers your migraines,” said Willetts, “then modify your behavior and environment as best you can and find coping strategies to reduce the number and severity of your migraines.”
She advises people who have migraines to “execute strategic daily practices to achieve your body composition goal.”
“Focus on incorporating one new healthy daily practice into your routine at a time,” Willetts said. “As your confidence increases, build another practice into your routine, so on and so forth.”
Willetts added that if you are a bit overwhelmed about how to attack the problem, you should seek the help of a registered dietitian.