Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes migraines, an often-severe type of headache that can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. That’s bad news for the 1 in 7 adults who have experienced a migraine, since that also means there’s no specific cure for it.
But now, scientists have found an interesting link that may help further the understanding of this particular kind of headache: People who are obese are more likely to report migraines, a new meta-analysis in the journal Neurology concluded.
After analyzing the results from 12 studies including over 288,000 participants, the researchers discovered that people who were obese—a body mass index of 30 or above—were 27 percent more likely to experience migraines than those of a normal weight.
Now, the research couldn’t actually prove that excess weight caused the migraines. But it’s possible that excess fat tissue, which secretes a wide range of chemicals throughout the body, could play a role in triggering the migraine, the researchers said in a press release.
What’s more, obesity is also linked to an increase in inflammation, which could be contributing to pain and pain disorders, according toMedPage Today.
It’s not yet clear whether dropping the pounds to get back to a normal weight can actually ease migraine, the researchers say, so more research is needed to confirm how weight loss efforts affect headache risk.
If you have frequent headaches, a headache that lasts for a few days, or a change in your headaches, make an appointment with your doctor. But if you have “the worst headache of your life,” a headache that comes on violently or explosively, or a headache that comes with slurred speech, a change in vision, or confusion, head to the ER right away.
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