Migraine linked to increased risk of depression in women

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Women who have migraine or have had them in the past are at an increased risk for developing depression compared to women who have never had migraine. This new study is linking depression in women to migraine in women.

For the study, researchers classified 36,154 women without depression who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Study and had provided information about migraine. Women were classified as either having active migraine with aura, active migraine without aura, past history of migraine (but not within the last year) or no history of migraine. Women also provided information about diagnoses of depression.

A total of 6,456 women had current or past migraine. During an average 14 years of follow-up, 3,971 of the women developed depression.

Women with any history of migraine were about 40 percent more likely to develop depression than women without a history of migraine. The results were the same regardless if a woman had migraine with aura, which involves visual disturbances that appear as flashing lights, zigzag lines or a temporary loss of vision.

“This is one of the first large studies to examine the association between migraine and the development of depression over time,” said Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Inserm in France and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “We hope our findings will encourage doctors to speak to their migraine patients about the risk of depression and potential ways to prevent depression.”

Migraine Tips:

When you do get migraine symptoms, try to treat them right away. The headache may be less severe. When migraine symptoms begin:
– Drink water to avoid dehydration, especially if you have vomited
– Rest in a quiet, darkened room
– Place a cool cloth on your head

Other tips for preventing migraines include:
– Avoid smoking
– Avoid alcohol
– Avoid artificial sweeteners and other known food-related triggers
– Get regular exercise
– Get plenty of sleep each night
– Learn to relax and reduce stress — some patients have found that biofeedback and self-hypnosis helps reduce the number of migraine attacks

Reducing chances of getting headache and migraine attack would definately reduce your risk of being depressed or depression symptoms, says Dr. Anil Singhal, MD.

Source: American Academy of Neurology, USA

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