An association has been made between women who suffer from migraines and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Women who suffer from migraines are 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, French researchers report, while migraines are also less severe in the years prior to a diabetes diagnosis.
Research into the two conditions is “scarce”, according to the researchers, and with only an association observed there is no evidence to confirm a causal link between migraines and type 2 diabetes.
The findings were based on health data taken from more than 70,000 females between 1990-2014, and compared results of women who did and did not have a history of migraines.
The researchers report that migraines have previously been associated with insulin resistance. However, they were surprised to observe an approximate 30% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes among the women with migraines.
First and corresponding author Dr. Guy Fagherazzi of the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in France said: “These results can have substantial implications on the understanding of mechanisms underlying these two conditions.”
It is thought that migraines affect around 18% of people, with women being three times more likely to suffer from them than men. Migraines most commonly affects people aged 35-45, but can also affect others, including children.
The researchers do not have a conclusive reason for why migraines are linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, although they have hypothesised that it might involve a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). This is common when migraines develop and is also involved in the process of glucose metabolism.
The researchers said: “It has been reported that rats with experimentally induced diabetes have a decreased density of CGRP sensory nerve fibres.”
The findings have been published in the JAMA Neurology journal.

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