Asthma patients were twice as likely to have chronic migraines

(Mirror Daily, United States) – A new study found that if you have asthma, you’re likelier to have migraines of serious intensity, described as chronic migraines. There was reportedly a link between the two conditions, or perhaps a common causality, such as genetics, environmental pollution, or similar problems.

The team of researchers at the University of Cincinnati along with scientists from the Montefiore Headache Center and Vedanta Research conducted a study on 4,500 patients who suffered from episodes of migraines or had around 15 headaches per month. The participants were polled back in 2008, with one year of follow-up in order to determine if their condition had worsened.

According to the CDC, 12% of the population in the United States suffer from migraines, and it’s three times more likely in women.

On the other hand, around 7% of adults have asthma. Those who suffer from the latter were found to be more likely to experience chronic migraines than those who did not have the condition. Lead author of the study, Dr. Vincent Martin, stated that they were, in fact, twice as likely.

All patients had episodic attacks of migraines several times per month, or severe headaches. The researchers found that after a one year follow up, 5.4% of the patients with asthma developed chronic migraines from their episodic attacks. This was more than double of the 2.5% of them who developed chronic migraines, but did not have asthma as well.

According to the researchers, this may be due to the similarities between the two conditions. Both involve “inflammation and activation of smooth muscle”, be it in blood vessels or airways. Dr. Martin stated that asthma may be a precursor or the telltale sign of chronic migraines before they happen. This way, perhaps the patients could be prescribed medications that would aid in their prevention.

The scientists also believe that the relationship between the two conditions may be due to the fact that asthma patients are likelier to have allergies. These are often related to chronic migraines. Asthma also seemed to be more strongly connected to them more than a common blame factor, specifically depression.

Even more, Dr. Martin claims that asthmatics have an “overactive parasympathetic nervous system” which predisposes them to both asthma and chronic migraines. So, while there might not be a relation of causality, it could be that the same issues trigger either condition. Or both.

There are numerous more elements that could be blamed on the two coinciding, such as genetics and air quality. Now, researchers suggest that doctors should prescribe preventive medication for chronic migraines for those who suffer from asthma.

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