Saturday, July 14, 2012

Is the Weather Making Your Migraines Worse

I don't do well in hot weather. I tend to wilt. It has always been this way, even when I was a kid, this was back in the 60's and 70's. We didn't know better and sun bathing was the in thing. My mom and sister would lay out in the backyard and sizzle in the sun for hours trying to get a tan prior to a beach vacation. I lasted about 5 minutes. I figured I'd get an umbrella at the beach; I couldn't stand the heat, or the bright light, it made my skin itch and it always gave me a bit of a headache (Can anyone say Mixed Connective Tissue Disease?) I would rapidly retreat to the cool dark back porch with my dog.

I knew that humidity made joints ache especially during the dog days of summer. It also made my asthma was worse. I wondered does weather changes causes migraines as I think they do. 

This summer is exceptionably hot and humid where I live; it seems that I've had migraine after migraine. At least, I discover that there is a link between the weather and my migraines. This has let me take my preventative migraine medication early. For me, this medication doesn't totally get rid of the migraine, but at least I don't have it for the full 72 hours.

Below is the article a friend found for me in the New York Times Blog. It tells how weather affects those who are prone to migraines.

When Weather Makes Migraines Worse
Patients have long recognized weather changes as a powerful trigger for attacks, particularly changes in barometric pressure, humidity and temperature, especially excessive heat. There is conflicting evidence in the medical literature on the influence of temperature and barometric pressure on migraine and nonmigraine headaches, but methodological flaws in several studies limit the ability to interpret them, and well controlled large-scale studies are scarce.
In general, studies have generally found higher rates of migraine in warmer seasons. And in one study involving over 7,000 patients, investigators found that higher ambient temperature transiently increased the risk of headaches that required emergency department evaluation. For every 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperature, there was a 7.5 percent increased risk of an emergency department visit for severe headache. There was also some evidence for higher risk of severe headache (not diagnosed as migraine) requiring an emergency department visit when barometric pressure was lower in the 48 to 72 hours before visiting the emergency department. Quite likely, many of the patients who presented with severe recurrent headaches triggered by weather changes did have migraines, but an accurate diagnosis was not made.
From a practical standpoint, there is not much a patient can do to control the weather or avoid warm temperatures or changes in barometric pressure. However, it is prudent to stay well hydrated and to avoid strenuous outdoor activities or exercise during times of the day when it’s excessively warm or humid. It’s also important to be vigilant about managing other trigger factors like sleep and diet.
When necessary, the short-term use of a preventive medication may be necessary during times of the year when the temperature is excessively warm or barometric pressure changes are particularly order to be more resistant and less vulnerable to weather triggers*

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