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Doctors are studying the effects of weight on migraines
Migraines are special headaches that occur as severe attacks. The exact causes of migraines remain largely unknown. However, body weight appears to have a major impact on migraines. Researchers have now found that overweight and underweight people are at increased risk of migraines.
The University of Queensland scientists in Brisbane found that migraines can be caused by both overweight and underweight. Both conditions increase the risk of migraines. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Neurology".
A BMI of 30 or more increases the risk of migraines by 27 percent
The meta-analysis of twelve different studies with almost 300,000 people showed that weight plays an essential role in the development of migraines. The results showed that a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more was associated with a 27 percent increased risk of migraines compared to people of normal weight. Underweight people with a BMI of less than 18.5 were 13 percent more at risk, the researchers say.
Age and gender also affect the risk of migraines
The current study confirms that obesity and underweight are associated with an increased risk of migraines. Age and gender are also important factors, explains author Lee Peterlin from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. The data suggest that doctors should be aware of this association.
More research is needed
Further studies to better understand the underlying mechanisms would have the potential to significantly improve the understanding of migraines, the scientists say. So therapeutic strategies could be developed based on the status of obesity, adds Lee Peterlin.
Obesity also leads to depression and pain disorders
The observed effect in obesity is quite logical, because obesity is also associated with a variety of pain disorders and depression, the experts say. Why underweight increases the risk of migraines remains largely unclear.
The identified risk of obese people is moderately increased
Although the increased risk of migraines in obese people is only moderate, it shows the need for further research in this area, the scientists explain. It is important to find out what effect weight loss has on the migraine risk.
Do changes in fat distribution lead to migraines?
The mechanisms behind the association between migraines and body weight are not fully known, but a number of possible explanations have been discussed. Changes in body composition that increase and decrease the amount of adipose tissue could play an important role, the experts speculate.
Women and younger people are more likely to develop migraines
The age and gender also seem to have an impact on the risk of migraines, the experts report. For example, the occurrence of migraines was more common in women and younger people. These are also increasingly affected by obesity, which explains the connection, the researchers explain. Changes in physical activity, medication, depression or other medical conditions could also influence the apparent connection between migraines and the BMI, the scientists suspect. (as)