Study Investigates Association Between Migraine and Diabetes

Alison Rodriguez

While investigating the association between migraine and diabetes mellitus, researchers found no significant differences in the prevalence of migraine between diabetics and nondiabetic age and sex-matched controls, according to a recent study.

Using data from the European Health Interview Surveys for Spain, the researchers identified subjects of at least 40 years old in order to conduct the cross-sectional study. Diabetes status was self-reported and each diabetic case was matched by the year of survey, age, and sex to a nondiabetic control.
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“Diabetes may be relevant in migraine pathophysiology, considering that diabetic patients display changes in vascular reactivity and nerve conduction,” explained the authors. “However, the association between migraine and diabetes is controversial. An inverse relationship between diabetes and migraine has been reported in several studies, nevertheless, other studies have concluded that the prevalence of migraine has been shown to be similar or higher.”

The study defined the presence of migraine based on if the patients answered affirmatively to the questions: “Have you suffered migraine or frequent headaches over the last 12 months?” and “Has your physician confirmed the diagnosis?” Additionally, the researchers considered independent variables that may affect the results, including socioeconomic status, health status variables, lifestyle, and pain characteristics.

Following a comparison and analysis of the patients, the study results revealed that the prevalence of migraine was significantly higher among patients with diabetes; however, diabetes was not associated with a greater risk of migraine. Specifically, among the diabetic subjects, female sex, suffering concomitant mental disorders, respiratory disorders, neck pain, and low back pain were variables that were associated with suffering from migraine.

“The higher prevalence of migraine among people suffering from asthma and COPD compared to those without these conditions has been described in the general population,” the authors noted. “Also, we found that diabetics reporting a mental disorder also had significantly higher probabilities of suffering from migraine. Several population surveys have shown a strong association between migraine and depression and/or anxiety.”

The researchers noted that their study results were limited since causality could not be addressed. Also, because all information about migraine prevalence was self-reported, the data may have been biased.

“In conclusion, we observed no significant differences in the prevalence of migraine between those with diabetes and nondiabetic age- and sex-matched controls after controlling for possible confounders,” wrote the authors. “Among diabetic subjects, female sex, suffering from concomitant mental or respiratory disorders or pain (neck and low back), were associated with suffering from migraine.”

López-de-Andrés A, del Barrio JL, Hernández-Barrera V, et al. Migraine in adults with diabetes; is there an association? Results of a population-based study. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2018;11:367-374. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S170253.
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