Rising temperatures increase risk of severe headache, ER visits suggest

Greetings!  I’m Nico Trimoff, manager of accessibility and transcription services at www.sterlingcreations.ca.
Today, I would like to share a very interesting article with you.  One that focuses on some of the ramifications of rising temperatures.  This article may very well answer some of your own questions about those driving headaches.
Please read on.
I wish you a great day.
Rising temperatures increase risk of severe headache, ER visits suggest


March 9, 2009 
Higher temperatures not only prompt people to seek shade, but the rising
mercury might also bring on headaches, a large-scale study suggests.
In a study to be published in Tuesday’s issue of the journal Neurology,
researchers looked at 7,054 people who went to emergency rooms in Boston
over six years and were diagnosed with headaches.
Scientists compared temperature levels, barometric pressure, humidity and
other weather or air pollution factors during one to three days leading up
to the hospital visit.
‘As lovely as the weather can be . I’m in my bed, holding my head in agony.’
Headache sufferer Lauren Hancock of Calgary
The risk of headache went up by about 7.5 per cent for every five-degree
Celsius increase in temperature, reported Dr. Kenneth Mukamal of the Beth
Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard medical school in Boston and his
“Air temperature and pressure have been widely cited as a possible trigger
for headaches, particularly migraines, but the potential connection hasn’t
been well documented,” said Mukamal, an internist.
The study found that changes in barometric pressure had much less of an
The study was designed to compare weather and air pollution conditions right
before an emergency visit, with those same factors measured earlier and
later the same month.
Air pollution levels such as fine particulate matter and sulphur dioxide had
no effect on the risk of headache in this study, although previous research
suggest they might be a stroke trigger.
Avoiding weather-related headaches
While the magnitude of increased risk is modest and may not be important in
caring for individual patients compared with other potential migraine and
headache triggers, the public health impact could be large since everyone who lives
in a given geographic area is exposed, the researchers said.
The findings suggest that something is happening in the autonomic nervous
system that regulates internal organs, Mukamal said.
It’s difficult to apply the results of the study, since most people with
migraines never go to emergency, the researchers acknowledged.
Lauren Hancock, 25, lives in chinook country, where Calgary’s winter
temperatures can shoot up dramatically.
“As lovely as the weather can be when you’re in the middle of December and
people are jogging in their shorts and t-shirts, I’m in my bed, holding my
head in agony,” Hancock said.
Limit medication use
Mukamal recommended that people with headaches sit down with their doctors
to identify triggers that lead to headache symptoms since doctors might be
able to prescribe medications to help avert the onset of weather-related
Hancock said she’s not sure how much help it would be knowing when the
migraines are coming, because she only takes her medication when the pain is
Some people take prophylactic medications for months at a time to prevent
attacks. But other kinds of migraine medications should not be taken too
frequently, said Dr. Werner Becker, a professor in the department of clinical
neurosciences at the University of Calgary.
“If patients take their medication more than 10 days a month they become at
risk for getting more and more migraines,” Becker said.
Dr. John Bart is a family physician in Toronto who has studied the link
between weather and all sorts of medical ailments. He also runs a website
called Mediclim that warns people when weather changes might bring on their
Bart said he believes a combination of weather factors is involved, and the
subject needs more study.
About 18 per cent of women and six per cent of men in the U.S. say they have
migraines, particularly young and middle-aged adults, the team noted. The
annual cost attributed to migraines is estimated at $17 billion US.
The study was supported by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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