Now once again, we do have the chicken-and-the-egg question. Could the migraine or CDH actually be causing the weight gain?
It’s probably a factor, but it’s probably not that simple. Certainly, chronic illness can make it difficult to exercise. But we’re likely looking at a more complex web of cause and effect here. That means that if you want to lose weight and get rid of migraine, you should be working on both issues together.
Several neurotransmitters and proteins have been associated with migraine or headache and body fat or eating habits. Take, for example, serotonin, ghrelin, orexin, and adiponectin.
You also need to throw anxiety and depression into the mix – again, depression not necessarily caused by chronic illness, but connected. The chemicals in your body related to weight gain can be involved in mood issues as well.
What kinds of connections have researchers suggested? In 2007, a study connected Body mass index to an increased number of migraine attacks (2006). Dr. Ann Scher and her team, in 2003, followed over 1100 people and discovered that obese people were more likely to develop chronic daily headache (in other words, in this case the obesity was not brought on because people already had CDH and so were less active).
A study this past August suggested that overweight adolescents were also at higher risk for recurring headaches. But other studies have not had such firm findings.
It’s been suggested that certain types of body fat, such as abdominal fat, are stronger risk factors than general body fat.
We’re left strongly suspecting a connection between migraine, chronic daily headache, depression, and obesity. But we’re still not sure exactly what that connection is. Larger, better designed studies are needed to give us more clues.
For the time being, we know that overall health is important for those with migraine or chronic daily headache. You don’t need to become a super-athlete in a day – simply start slowly and think about how you can slightly improve your diet, get a little more active, and if possible find a better treatment for your headaches and/or migraine.
Thanks to the book Menstrual Migraine