A research team at the University of Cincinnati and fellow researchers from medical centers found that asthma may lead to chronic migraine in patients that already struggle with recurrent headaches.
Vincent Martin, co-author of the study and researcher with the University of Cincinnati’s Division of General Internal Medicine, and his team analyzed nearly 4,500 people with a history of episodic migraine, a condition which means that they had up to 15 migraine attacks every month.
Dr. Richard Lipton, co-author of the study and scientist at New York City-based Montefiore Headache Center, explained that both migraine and asthma are based on the same mechanism. They both need an inflammatory process that activates the fine muscles in either airways or blood vessels.
This is why, Dr. Lipton believes that inflammation caused by asthma may promote the onset of chronic migraine.
In the U.S., 12 percent of adults report migraines. Migraines affect women three times more than they do in men. Chronic migraine means that patients have more than 15 migraine attacks on a monthly basis. About 1 percent of U.S. adults are affected by the condition which greatly lowers their quality of life and makes them often skip work.
About eight percent of Americans are diagnosed with asthma.
In their study, investigators sifted through data on migraine sufferers from a study conducted by the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention seven years ago. In that study, volunteers were asked to fill in questionnaires on their migraines.
Study participants had either episodic migraine and an asthma diagnosis or just the migraine. They had to answer questions on drug use for both conditions, depressive mood and lifestyle habits that may make the conditions worse, such as smoking.
Volunteers also reported how often their headaches were, so study investigators had a clue on in which group episodic migraines morphed into chronic migraine. The study revealed that within a year, 5.4 percent of asthma sufferers and respectively 2.5 percent of non-asthma patients saw their headaches progress toward chronic migraine.
Dr. Martin concluded that patients that had episodic headaches and asthma were twice as likely to see their migraines worsen within 12 months as compared with patients not affected by asthma.
Researchers also found that asthma is more likely to lead to chronic migraine than depression.
The study was published last month in the journal Headache.
Image Source: Flickr
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