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Migraines are sometimes mistaken for severe headaches, but they are neurological conditions with distinct symptoms and causes. Researchers believe there is a genetic component at work and are investigating the link to improve treatment options. Scientists have also discovered connections to other diseases. Some are neurological, such as epilepsy, while others are respiratory, such as asthma, or gastrointestinal, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

If you suffer from migraines, you should be aware of any potential links to other health risks. Continue reading to find out more.

1. Depression

If you suffer from “episodic” migraines, you are twice as likely to suffer from depression as someone who does not suffer from migraines. If you suffer from chronic migraines, your risk also doubles.

While people with migraines may become depressed as a result of the pain, depression can also come first. This suggests that the two have something in common, whether it’s genes, neurology, or both. The prevalent belief is that both disorders are caused by a common underlying predisposition, and either can occur first.

2. Anxiety

Chronic migraine sufferers are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than from depression. Anxiety or migraines, like depression, can come first. Patients who are anxious in their daily lives are more likely to develop migraines and vice versa.

3. Stroke 

Aura migraines are a type of migraine in which visual or other sensory symptoms precede or occur concurrently with the headache. There is a link between this type of migraine and strokes caused by blood clots.

People who suffer from migraines with aura are about twice as likely as the general population to have a stroke, but the risk is still very low. Migraines, particularly migraines with aura, are primarily a disease that is more likely to affect females, but women have a lower risk of stroke than men. 

4. Epilepsy 

Both the seizure disorder epilepsy and migraine can cause sensory disturbances as well as mood changes. Having one increases your chances of getting the other, but either can happen first. They are both disorders of brain excitability, in which the brain reacts to environmental stimuli and sleep deprivation. Some of the specific genetic causes of migraine are also responsible for epilepsy.

5. Heart Disease 

People who suffer from migraines are more likely to have heart disease, in addition to having a higher risk of stroke. According to a 2018 study published in the BMJ, migraine sufferers were more likely to have heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, and blood clots than other people.

6. Asthma

Despite the fact that asthma is a respiratory disorder and migraine is a neurological condition, the two can coexist. Inflammation could be the common denominator.

Asthma is characterized by inflammation and excessive constriction of the airways. Excessive inflammation of the blood vessels just outside the brain occurs in migraine. In fact, inflammation of the blood vessels outside the brain may be the source of the excruciating throbbing pain that characterizes a migraine headache.

7. Obesity 

Excess weight can aggravate migraines if you already have them. Obesity can cause migraines even if you’ve never had one before.

The common denominator, as with asthma, may be inflammation, which can be caused by obesity. Losing weight may be beneficial. Another way to avoid migraines is to pay close attention to your diet. Certain foods, such as red wine, chocolate, and processed meats, can set off an attack, so avoiding them can be beneficial.

8. Pain Disorders 

Many pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia and chronic pain in the neck, back, and shoulders, frequently coexist with migraines and other types of headaches.

It’s not clear how migraines and other painful conditions are related. Some people may have genetic predispositions, while others may be affected by pain medications. Patients who take pain medications for low back pain or other types of pain may develop sensitivity to the medication and experience overuse headaches.

9. Digestive Issues 

Experts believe there is a complex relationship between the gut and the brain, which they refer to as the gut-brain axis. Not only does your digestive tract influence your mood, but the gut and the brain share tissues and chemical messengers as well. Migraine sufferers are more likely to have a variety of GI issues, including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease.

10. Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder that causes a strong desire to move your legs, which can interfere with daily life and sleep. Nobody knows why RLS and migraines are linked, but it could be due to dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain involved in both movement and migraines.

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