WASHINGTON – Warm weather is here — just ask people who suffer from migraine headaches.
“More patients feel worse in the summer than in the winter, particularly in this area where the humidity is very high in the summertime,” says Dr. Jessica Ailani, director of the Headache Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
But Ailani says scientific studies conflict over whether heat, humidity, low barometric pressure and stormy weather increase the instances of migraines.
“One study says low barometric pressure triggers headache another study says high barometric pressure triggers headaches,” Aliani says.
Regardless of the research, migraine patients who suffer splitting headaches seem confident as to what’s causing them.
“More than half of our patients come in and they can tell us, ‘It has been a bad week with the weather because my headaches have been terrible,'” Ailani says.
At Washington Adventist Hospital, neurologist Dr. Amir Zangiabadi points to research that indicates the risk of migraine rises 7.5 percent for every 9 degree jump in the temperature.
Zangibadi blames warm temperatures which can slow the function of the brain’s neurotransmitters — triggering migraines.
“I would say the neurons need perfect temperature to work, properly,” Zangibadi says.
“It’s an interesting theory,” Ailani says.
“Is it very possible that heat can induce a migraine because it’s changing the way that the neurotransmitters are working and the way the brain is firing? It is possible,” Ailani says.
Neurologists say many things can causer migraines including stress, eating and sleeping habits and hormones.
Zangibadi says he’s seen studies that identify air pollution as a potential migraine trigger.
For individuals who feel their migraines are worse in the warm weather, Ailani recommends trying to keep cool, stay indoors and drink cool fluids.
Zangibadi adds that migraine sufferers should steer clear of soda, tea and coffee.