Anyone who has ever suffered from migraines knows that they’re not “just headaches.” They can be absolutely debilitating, bringing daily life and all that comes with it to a screeching halt. That’s not just because of the pain they cause; they’re a total package deal, often including sensitivity to light or sound, as well as nausea and vomiting. Many migraine sufferers report that they have to lay in a dark room and avoid moving altogether during a flare-up.
Sounds miserable, right? Well, a study published in the journal, Cephalalgia, indicates that if you have diabetes, you may be at a unique and interesting advantage: you may be less prone to getting migraines.
The fact that researchers even thought to examine the link may seem a bit strange, but they’re not the first ones to enter this territory. Studies in the past have looked into this, too, and have gotten conflicting results.
This one, however, was a cohort study of everyone in Norway who was alive at the very beginning of 2004. It was accompanied by a 10-year follow-up.
Based on a prescription database, researchers identified individuals with type 1, type 2, and migraines. 7,883 Norwegians had type 1 diabetes and 93,600 had type 2.
An analysis of the data revealed that both people with type 1 and type 2 were at a significantly lower risk of experiencing migraines than the general population.
This crazy finding begs the question: why? We don’t have a straight answer, but researchers believe that there may be something about diabetes itself, diabetes treatments, or even diabetes complications that may somehow protect people from migraines. Bizarre yet fascinating!
Of course, all studies come with their limitations, and this one is no exception. Using prescription databases as a source of information could skew results, as not everyone with migraines and type 2 may be on prescription medication. And using drugs to determine which diseases individuals have could also be problematic; not all drugs are used for the exact same things, after all. Plus, researchers didn’t have access to genetic or environmental factors, which could potentially play a role in this relationship between migraines and diabetes.
Still, it is an interesting finding, and, if proven to be true, could be an encouragement to those with diabetes. While diabetes itself is definitely not a walk in the park, it may boast a pretty neat and unexpected benefit!
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.