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Hot weather triggers migraine

10th March 2009

Many migraine sufferers have long believed that a change in the weather can cause headaches.

Headache

Now, a study has examined the possible connections between the weather and migraines, and concluded that there is indeed a link.

The study found that any increase in temperature can trigger a headache, and that the risk of having a migraine goes up by 7.5% every time the temperature rises by 5 degrees Celsius.

Findings also showed however that low barometric pressure was not linked to the likelihood of getting a migraine, though it was associated with a small risk of getting other types of headaches.

Study lead author Kenneth J. Mukamal said that the full effect of air pollution on headaches remained to be studied.

He said that while he believed air pollution added to one's likelihood of having a headache, he was confident that the effect was comparatively small when put next to that of the weather.

In order to study the link, researchers compared records of weather changes to a medical database of people given emergency treatment for migraines, taking note of specific conditions such as barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature changes.

When some 7,000 cases were examined with this in mind, rising temperature was identified as the biggest trigger for headaches.

However, they said that the amount of risk was modest and may not be an important factor in the clinical management of individual patients.

Stephen Silberstein said that patients can manage their migraines by knowing their own triggers.

Such triggers may include improper sleep, irregular eating or drinking and hormonal changes in women associated with menstruation.

Experts also point to overuse of pain medications for headaches, and strenuous exercise or sex as potential migraine triggers.


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