Obesity, Migraines and Houston’s Ranking

July 19, 2013

Are you battling the bulge and migraines in Dallas, or do you know someone tipping the scale and suffering with migraines in Houston? 

If your answer is ‘yes’ to either one, the scientists might be on to something.  A research team from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that when it comes to episodic migraines, obese, young, white women fare the worst.  Episodic migraines occur on 14 or fewer days each month, compared with chronic migraines that occur on 15 or more days of a month. 

The study evaluated rates of episodic migraines occurring in individuals with a high body-mass index (BMI – a body fat measure that accounts for weight and height).  Although the incidence of episodic migraine seemed to rise with higher BMI numbers, the exact cause for this relationship was not evident.

In 2012, Men’s Fitness magazine bestowed the notorious honor of ‘fattest city in America’ upon Houston.  Not to be completely outvoted, Dallas came in a formidable 25th place on the same list.  So, Dallas migraine sufferers and Houston migraine sufferers alike might have some cause for concern.  But, then again, the researchers could not determine whether obesity contributed to a migraine condition, or if a causal relationship flows in the opposite direction. That is, did the migraine come before the weight gain?

A HealthDay article, which reported the Johns Hopkins University study’s findings online, included several theories that could explain the migraine-obesity connection.  One possibility is that inflammatory properties in fatty tissue may have something to do with triggering the headaches.  Premenopausal women and obese individuals are apt to have more fatty tissue than older women and men.  

Another possible theory is that the location within the brain involved with migraines is also linked with the desire to eat.   On the other hand, theories suggesting that migraines precede the weight issues include possible weight gain side effects from migraine medication, and more sedentary lifestyles among migraineurs who suffer with physically and emotionally disabling symptoms.

Realize that, before you sign up for the newest weight loss craze in Houston, migraines may in fact be your pre-existing condition, and certain medications you are taking might be causing your weight gain.  So, even if you are overweight in Dallas, migraine treatment should be your immediate concern. 

Seek out the right medical attention.  Getting active, eating right and tackling excess weight must become a part of your overall migraine treatment strategy, as well as your ‘Best Total You’ plan as well! 

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