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May 06, 2019

Having migraines might protect you from Type 2 diabetes, study finds

For women, at least

Women's Health Illness
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For migraine-sufferers, there’s no real “bright side” to their condition — it’s pretty hard to see (quite literally) past the debilitating pain migraines cause. However, depending on how you look at it, a notable perk was discovered by researchers: migraines may reduce a person’s chance of developing diabetes.

This study found that people — specifically women — who carry an active migraine diagnosis were 20- to 30-percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than women without migraines.

The study published in JAMA, followed 74, 247 French women born between 1925 and 1950 for total of ten years.

RELATED READ: 5 helpful smartphone apps for migraine sufferers

Bustle reports that health care providers and experts have long had a hunch that there was a correlation between migraines and a lack of Type 2 diabetes, but this study is the first to prove this theory to be true. That said, experts aren’t so clear on the “why” for this correlation.

According to Dr. Paul Rizzoli in Harvard Health Publishing:

What could it be about having a headache that could make your blood sugar and insulin function improve? Looked at the other way around, one consideration could be that elevated blood sugar levels are somehow protective against developing a headache. Yet another explanation may have to do with CGRP, a protein molecule in the body that is active in both conditions and may be the factor that links them.

Rizzoli notes that while this study was quite large and “well-conducted,” there are some limitations. Namely, the research team only examined women, and primarily white women at that.

This finding is particularly noteworthy because of the staggering number of diabetes cases in the United States. According to the CDC, more than 30 million Americans are living with Type 2 diabetes, a disease tied to risk factors including being overweight and inactive. 

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