It seems everyone enjoys summer: bright sunshine, pool parties, BBQ, family all-togethers. This season brings quite the opposite experience to people suffering from migraine: of 14 million migrainers reported in the United States, over a half says weather changes usually triggers their headache attacks. Migraine sufferers confirm: most often migraines happen in summer, triggered by exacerbated seasonal allergies, rapid changes of barometric pressure, different routines, increased amount of light due to sunny days. By being attentive to your state and understanding your migraine triggers, you have a greater chance to avoid the attacks and successfully enjoy lazy summer days headache-free.
In this article My Canadian Pharmacy specialists are going to provide a few valuable tips to minimize the risk of summer migraines.
First, let’s consider the origin of migraines. Although, the issue isn’t fully researched for now, there is some data that proves this condition appears, when genetic predisposition and uncontrolled external factors merge. Genetic predisposition is responsible for the attack occurrence, while external factors influence the frequency, severity and duration of headaches.
The risk of migraines increases in direct ratio to negative events and factors, such as malnutrition, chronic stress, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, light exposure, alcohol consumption, dehydration, weather changes and individual intolerance of some foods. These factors have a negative impact on any of us, but for migrainers any of them can be crucial.
Some factors are relatively easy to control, while some of them are out of it, for example, weather factors. There are 7 weather-related migraine triggers specified by The International Headache Society:
There is no common opinion in this regard. A lot of research was carried out to understand to correlation between the season and the frequency of migraine attacks and to find the reasons, but no clear answer was found. My Canadian Pharmacy specialists provide three major theories:
High summer temperatures boosts sweating and, as a result, water with sodium reserves are depleted, and people suffer from dehydration more often. Increased sweating during physical exercises also can contribute to dehydration, especially in summer. Every 9 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 5 Celsius) add 7.5% to the risk of severe headaches also known as migraine.
Photosensitivity (or increased sensitivity to light) can cause more frequent migraine attacks, especially in people, who experience migraine with aura – 17% of migrainers and 47% of migrainers with aura report increased frequency of headaches in sunny summer days, It can be explained by melatonin levels: exposure to sunlight inhibits melatonin production in the brain, but in migraine sufferers it drops severely, therefore these people are more likely to suffer from photosensitivity.
Barometric pressure changes
Summer is known for sudden and unexpected weather changes, detrimental for migraine sufferers. Lower barometric pressure that is common for sunny summer days leads to blood vessel dilatation. To keep the balance, the brain produces more serotonin to control the normal state of vessels and narrow them down. At this point migrainers with aura start noticing typical onset symptoms, such as distorted senses: changed taste or food cravings, blind spots, vision loss, hearing or smelling hallucinations, tingling or numbness and some other symptoms.
After that the serotonin levels come in place, and it leads to another round of vessel dilatation and sever headaches. Scientists discovered that migraine sufferers have a more sensitive sympathetic nervous system: both to weather changes and pain.
To other typical summer reasons for migraine researchers can add:
Be aware of the weather forecast. This will give you an opportunity to plan your activities ahead and expect most difficult days. You can look for mobile apps containing a digital barometer or warning your about increased risks of weather-related migraines.
The most difficult moment is saying ‘no’ to activities that your friends and family enjoy so much and that might be a trigger for your migraine attacks. If your kids enjoy swimming, playing and yelling outside – you shouldn’t feel guilty you can’t be there with them. Delegate this task to your partner or get mother’s help services. Your friends should be more understanding, so instead of joining them for a pool party, invite them for a quite BBQ the other day.
Although there is are no guarantees, when it comes to avoiding migraine, the tips we listed above can be a big deal if you follow them and prioritize your health. The most rational approach is being observant instead of being obsessive. There are a lot of ways to enjoy summertime without feeling depressed or guilty for non-going somewhere. There are a lot of relaxed summer activities possessing minimum risk of catching a trigger. And you have enough information about safe alternatives to make an amazing summer schedule!
Stay active and healthy with Canadian Map Pharmacy!