Asthma and Chronic Migraine: The Connection

Carlo Rinaudo Migraines Leave a Comment

Did you know that if you have asthma, your risk of developing chronic migraine is considerably increased? Don’t suffer any further. If you have migraine symptoms that are getting worse, get help and get migraine treatment straight away.

Migraine and asthma

Both asthma and migraine are debilitating medical disorders that are characterised by episodes during which their symptoms flare up. Both of these disorders can be triggered by factors like the weather, stress, smoking, menstrual periods, air pollution and allergies. Asthma has been connected to the frequency and prevalence of migraines. 1

What is migraine?

Migraine is a type of neurovascular headache disorder that is characterized by terrible headaches that are accompanied by neurological symptoms and autonomic disturbances. It involves episodes of pulsating headaches, nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia.  Some underlying mechanisms that may be responsible for triggering a migraine include: neurogenic inflammation, defects in serotonin metabolism or arachidonic acid, changes in the steroid hormone and ovarian hormone concentrations and food allergies. 23

What is Asthma?

Asthma is an inflammatory condition of the lower part of the respiratory tract and its manifestation involves intermittent constriction of a person’s bronchial airways. During an asthma attack, someone may suffer mild to severe or life-threatening symptoms that may include breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness. 3

The connection

The exact mechanism of how asthma is associated with chronic migraine is still unknown, however some speculations have been made. It has been suggested that asthma and migraine share genetic, environmental and biochemical factors when it comes to their origin. Some more suggestions follow: 23

  • Atopy

Atopy is a feature found in around 85% of people suffering from asthma and it involves the release of certain substances (like histamine) in reaction to the exposure to an allergen. It is thought that histamine release may trigger a cascade of events in the nervous system that may lead to a migraine.

  • Parasympathetic hyperactivity

The lungs are densely innervated by parasympathetic nerves which play a role in the constriction of the bronchial airways which is observed in people with asthma. One theory suggests that people with asthma encounter a widespread state of parasympathetic hyperactivity that may be the reason why they are predisposed to more frequent migraine attacks.

  • Enhanced release of neuropeptides

Neuropeptide release plays a role in both asthma and migraine. When an allergen is inhaled (or when any other trigger is encountered), the release of these neuropeptides lead to increased vascular permeability, leukocyte (white blood cell) recruitment, the release of inflammatory mediators and the constriction of the airway that all lead to the symptoms of migraine and asthma.

These suggestions may hold some truth, but more studies are needed to get behind the exact connection between asthma and migraines.

Get help to end the connection

Migraine treatment is out there, you don’t need to deal with the migraines that are connected to your asthma. Call Brain Hub on 1300 770 197 now to get prompt migraine treatment.

 

References:

  1. Martin VT, Fanning KM, Serrano D, Buse DC, Reed ML Lipton RB. Asthma is a risk factor for new onset chronic migraine: Results from the American migraine prevalence and prevention study. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2016; 56: 118–131.
  2. Davey G, Sedgwick P, Maier W, Visick G, Strachan DP, Anderson HR. Association between migraine and asthma: matched case-control study. The British Journal of General Practice. 2002; 52(482): 723-727.
  3. Czerwinski S, Gollero J, Qiu C, Sorensen TK, Williams MA. Migraine-Asthma Comorbidity and Risk of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy. Journal of Pregnancy. 2012; 2012: 858097.
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