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Occasional Migraines Linked to Obesity

Update Date: Sep 11, 2013 06:57 PM EDT

Obesity may increase a person's risk of getting migraines. Researchers found that people who get occasional migraines are more likely to be obese than people who do not have migraines.

"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," study author B. Lee Peterlin, DO, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, 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 people with migraine and their doctors."

The latest study involved 3,862 people with an average age of 47.  Participants completed surveys with information on height, weight and migraines.

Result revealed that a total of 1,044 participants were obese and 188 of participants had occasional, or episodic, migraine. These migraines come 14 or fewer times a month.

The findings revealed that obese people were 81 percent more likely to have episodic migraine (of any frequency) as compared to people of normal weight. Researchers noted that the link is stronger in those under the age of 50, the years when migraine is more prevalent, than those older than 50.

"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."

The findings are published in the journal Neurology

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