Teri, as you said in your new article about Migraine and obesity, all of the talk about Migraine and obesity is blaming the patient. So, why do you continue to write the articles? Dr. Watson, what’s your take on all this nonsense about Migraine and obesity? I’m really tired of these so-called researchers who like to blame us for our Migraines. Jasmine.
As I said in the recent article, “It’s important, however, to realize that numbers and statistics blame nobody. Thus, the results and conclusions of this meta-analysis should be viewed as statistics that verify that obesity and, to a smaller extent, being underweight increase the risk of Migraine.” I’m quite particular about the sources for what I write. The source for this article was Neurology, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Neurology. I’ve known B. Lee Peterlin, D.O., the author interviewed and quoted in my article, for quite a few years now. I see her at American Headache Society conferences, and have come to respect and admire her work. She’s very dedicated to patients with Migraine and other headache disorders and to research to help us. I’m sure the same can be said of the other authors on this journal article. I’ve struggled with weight issues my entire life, and I can empathize with you. That said, we must put aside the visceral reactions we may have to the research that connects weight issues to the risk of Migraine and use the knowledge to reach for better health.
From Dr. Watson:
Nowhere in the referenced article nor the HealthCentral summary does it state that obesity causes Migraine, or that obesity is someone’s fault. However, the association has been clearly shown not be “nonsense,” and calling it “so-called research” is far more offensive than anything this research may be implying. We live in an environment where opinions and feelings are often made more important than facts. At least in the scientific world, this is dangerous and cannot be tolerated. We can discuss our opinions as to WHY obesity is a risk factor for Migraine, but that it is a risk factor is not up for debate.
Let’s consider why obesity and Migraine are connected. There probably isn’t a single answer. Some that quickly come to mind include:
Obesity can affect estrogen levels.
Diets that lead to obesity are sometimes higher in processed foods, which can also affect Migraine.
Exercise is good for Migraine and bad for obesity.
There could be genetic factors which predispose toward both.
This list could go on and on.
Lastly, I completely agree that “patient blaming” is a bad thing. But there is a degree of “personal responsibility” for lifestyle choices that affect Migraine disease. The two ideas are not the same thing.
Thank you for your question,
Dave Watson and Teri Robert
About Ask the Clinician:
Questions submitted to our Ask the Clinician column are answered by Dr. David Watson and Teri Robert.
If you have a question, please go to our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our column. Due to the number of questions submitted, no questions will be answered privately, and questions will be accepted only when submitted via THIS FORM. Please do not submit questions via email, private message, or blog comments. Thank you.
Please note: We cannot diagnose, suggest specific treatment, or handle emergencies via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.
We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications, and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor.
See more helpful articles:
Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.