Migraines and Genetics

December 3, 2015


When you consider the different types of medical conditions or health-related issues that can be hereditary, do migraine headaches ever come to mind?  Sure, everyone gets a headache now and then…but what about those severe, debilitating migraine headaches?  If members of your family get those, could you be next in line?  Are migraine headaches really hereditary?

More and more evidence seems to suggest that it is. As many as 90 percent of people who suffer from migraines have said that they know family members who get them as well.

And geneticists have come up with some projected likelihood, such as: If you are a parent who suffers from a migraine, your child has about a 50 percent chance of also dealing with them during their lifetime. If you and your spouse BOTH experience migraines, that risk increases to 75 percent.

One thing that remains consistent, however, is that the level of severity may not be hereditary. You may have a family member who gets severe, multi-symptom incapacitating migraines that last hours. Whereas, you may get a milder version of one that doesn’t last as long. It’s also possible for people within the same family to experience the same types of migraine headaches.

Researchers continue to search for clues, and their findings continue to point at credible genetic factors. A recent Genome-Wide Association Study examined the DNA of more than 23,000 people who suffer from migraines. That DNA was compared with 95,000 other comparable strands from people who do not get migraines. The final analysis identified 12 specific areas that tied the DNA to migraine headaches.

If anything, the conclusions that have stemmed from research surrounding genetics and migraine headaches serve as a reminder about the importance of knowing your medical history. It continues to be an important part of how we understand and treat a variety of health conditions. At the Migraine Treatment Centers of America, we are dedicated to providing meaningful, long-term relief for you and your family. If you have questions, give us a call at 855-980-7530.

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