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May 24, 2024

Could Climate Change be Responsible for Worsening Migraines?

According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraines affect more than 1 billion people globally. Migraine symptoms vary and can include head pain, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound or brain fog. For more than 90% of those affected, migraine interferes with education, career or social activities.

In a recent study published in the journal Headache, the prevalence of migraines in the United States has remained stable over the past three decades while migraine-related disability has increased. The “disability” scores reflect how severe a migraine is. The study conducted a review of US studies addressing the prevalence, disability, and/or burden of migraine, including both episodic migraines and chronic migraines.

As reported by NBC News, Dr. Fred Cohen and other researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai note that “the observed increase in the frequency and negative impact of migraines on work and home productivity may be due to increased social awareness of migraines and less stigma around the debilitating condition.” Dr. Cohen also notes that “[a]nother factor could be environmental changes such as climate change” as “[s]evere weather conditions can be a trigger for migraines.” Furthermore, Dr. Cohen warned that “[a]s extreme weather events, like hurricanes, become more frequent and intense, they could be contributing to an increase in migraine attacks and their severity. Migraine patients who are sensitive to extreme weather may benefit from “monitoring weather changes, such as with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HeatRisk tool or your local National Weather Service Forecast Office[.]” 

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