Obesity and overweight are both described as abnormal or excessive fat buildup that poses a health concern. Overweight are those individuals with a (body mass index) BMI of 25 or higher, while obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.
Poor hygiene, lack of physical movement, and poor diet can contribute to the serious health risks that arise among obese and overweight people that range from cardiovascular issues to heat intolerance, breathing issues, fatigue, or excess sweating.
But can being overweight cause headaches and migraines? There is limited research conducted on the topic currently, but those that exist seem to point to an evident link between the two.
Let’s dive deeper into the link between obesity and migraine headaches to understand the correlation.
What are Migraines Exactly?
Migraines are a type of headache that is more intense than regular stress-related headaches or tension headaches. They typically affect one side of the head or a specific part and that section is prone to throbbing.
Migraines also commonly come with a set of associated symptoms.
Those symptoms include but aren’t limited to nausea, sensitivity to light, and dizziness. The primary difference between migraines and other headaches is that migraines are prone to being chronic.
You experience a regular headache when you stress too much at work or spend too much time straining your eyes in front of a screen.
Migraines can happen several days in a row and are difficult to treat. You can take medication to ease the effects of migraine, but it may return the very next day.
Headaches And Weight Gain Symptoms
Recent studies across the world have looked at the severity and frequency of migraine headaches among participants to assess patterns.
Several researches showed that participants that reported the most frequent number of chronic migraines were those who fell under the body weight categories of ‘overweight’ and ‘obese’. Alarmingly, these two groups also ranked high for the severity of the migraines.
The only other body weight group that also ranked as high as the previous two were those considered ‘underweight’.
Hence, it became evident that individuals under or above the normal range for body weight experienced more frequent and intensive migraines compared to those who fell in the normal range.
Migraines aside, obesity and overweight is also linked to chronic daily headaches (CDH) among individuals. CDH is defined as having more than 15 headaches within a month which indicates the individual has chronic headaches once every other day at least.
CDH was found to be present in 3.9 percent of normal-weight people and 5.2 percent of obese persons. The morbidly obese category had a prevalence of 7.1 percent.
So, can being overweight cause headaches and migraines?
Doctors and researchers alike have not settled on a concise explanation for occurrence but at the moment, they link it with poor lifestyle habits, personal hygiene, and quality of health. Both of which negatively impact a person’s regular functioning.
Does Losing Weight Reduce Migraines?
With all of this in mind, can losing weight impact the presence of chronic headaches and migraines positively? Possibly, yes.
The tricky thing about migraines is that they can be caused by a variety of issues. Stress and poor health maintenance are among the top causes of chronic migraines.
A large portion of obese and overweight individuals do not live a particularly healthy lifestyle in terms of diet or exercise.
Since both of the mentioned have a positive impact on the healthiest of individuals, it is possible that implementing a healthier regime will help ease migraines.
A healthier lifestyle will promote weight loss to a normalized BMI and in its turn positively impact many symptoms the individual feels as a result of their increased body mass.
It is nonetheless important for chronic migraine sufferers to look into deeper chronic illnesses or stress-related stimulants that may also be the cause of their migraines.
What can you do if you are overweight and obese and experience migraines? Practicing frequent exercise and proper nutrition is the most harmless approach and can only benefit your health and wellbeing.
Consult with your doctor in any case if you experience migraines as they will provide you with the best action plan according to your body’s specific considerations.