A new study out of France found that women who suffer from migraines may be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
The study followed 74,000 French women born between 1925 and 1950, and tracked their health beginning in 1990. In 2002, the participants completed surveys about their experience with migraines and were divided into three groups: those with no history of migraines, those with a previous history of migraines, and active migraine sufferers.
During the long-term survey, 2,372 developed type 2 diabetes, but only 129 experienced active migraines. In other words, women with migraines have a 20-30 percent less chance of developing type 2 diabetes. The study, known as the E3N Cohort Study, consisted mostly of women who were white, not obese, post-menopausal, and teachers.
One hypothesis is that migraines can cause nausea and vomiting and lead sufferers to eat fewer meals. Eating fewer meals can also lead to reduced weight, and obesity is a common risk factor in developing type 2 diabetes.
Another theory is that migraines influence a protein in the brain that’s responsible for glucose metabolism.
Potential migraine causes
Contrary to these findings, headaches have been associated with diabetes for decades, especially with episodes of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. The association with migraines is a new field of study.
Possible causes for migraines include:
- Hormonal changes
- Emotional stress
- Certain foods
- Physical strain
- Changes in weather
- Changes in your sleep pattern
It may not be possible for you to prevent migraines altogether, but you may be able to change simple things in your life in order to have them less frequently. This includes things like adopting better sleep habits, eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and managing your stress levels.
Migraine symptoms are different for everyone and may include alarming symptoms like numbness and tingling of the hands and feet and smelling things that aren’t there.
Common symptoms include:
- Throbbing or pulsing pain on one or both sides of your head
- Sensitivity to light, sound, smell, and touch
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision, double vision, or seeing an aura
- Lightheadedness and possible fainting
If you have migraines or headaches associated with diabetes, talk to your doctor about testing your blood sugar levels. These conditions could be an indication that you need to change your medication.