Midlife Migraines Linked to Increased Parkinson’s Risk

Contributed by: Vincent Martin, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director of Headache and Facial Pain Program

MidlifeMigrainesPerimenopause and menopause are known to occur in a women’s midlife but a new study suggests another midlife aliment can be linked to another disease. Migraines suffered in midlife may be linked to an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease.

According to the study recently published in Neurology, researchers found that people in middle age, who experience aura with their migraines – such as sensations like seeing flashes of light – double the risk of developing Parkinson’s or other movement disorders later in life. The study also found that Parkinson’s-like symptoms were also more common in those with migraine without aura, though the link was not as strong as those with migraine aura.

Migraine is the most common form of disabling headache in both men and women. Women suffer from migraine three times as often as men. Many women find their migraine symptoms are affected by menstruation, hormones, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure yet why migraines that occur in midlife may be linked to Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders but don’t believe that the link is due to medications used to treat migraines, related brain diseases or any gynecologic conditions. Right now, explanations point to a previous head injury or a genetic risk factor that connects the two.

Regardless of when you suffer a migraine or any other form of headache, we are here to help. The UC Health Headache and Facial Pain Program is part of the world-renowned UC Neuroscience Institute and brings together expertise and resources from the Women’s Center to help return patients to a fully functional and happy life.

For more information on the Headache and Facial Pain Program or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call (513) 475-UC4U.

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