For Many, Obesity Is a Literal Headache

For many, obesity is a literal headache

HealthDay WebMD News

By Denise Mann

HealthDay reporter

THURSDAY, January 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) – As obesity rates around the world continue to skyrocket, new research shows that a growing number of people are developing a potentially blinding type of weight-related headache that was once considered rare.

Although the study was carried out in Wales, an American expert said the same increase in these headaches was probably occurring in that country and elsewhere, but he warned that it is not because a person is obese and has headache than he has this rare headache. , known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).

“Obese people are also at greater risk for more frequent migraines,” noted Dr. Brian Grosberg, director of the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center in Connecticut.

In the study, rates of IIH increased six-fold in Wales between 2003 and 2017, from 12 per 100,000 population to 76 per 100,000 population. Over the same 15-year period obesity rates in Wales have fallen from 29% of the population to 40%.

“The dramatic increase in the incidence of III” has several causes, but is probably “primarily due to the increase in obesity rates,” said study author William Owen Pickrell, a neurologist consultant at Swansea University. “The global prevalence of obesity almost tripled between 1975 and 2016, and therefore these findings are also of global relevance.”

His findings were published in the Jan. 20 issue of Neurology.

IIH is a type of headache that occurs when fluid around your brain and spinal cord collects in your skull. This puts additional pressure on your brain and the optic nerve at the back of your eye, causing symptoms that can mimic a brain tumor such as debilitating headaches, blind spots and possibly vision loss, according to the National. Eye Institute.

The cause is not fully understood, but weight loss is the main treatment. Some people may need medication and / or surgery to drain the fluid and relieve the pressure. “There is some evidence that losing weight can improve symptoms of headaches,” Pickrell said.

During the examination, the researchers found 1,765 cases of HII, 85% in women. They looked at the patients’ body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, as well as their economic status based on their address. They compared this information to that of individuals without IIH.

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