The influence of the weather on migraine

Migraine is the most weather-related health complaint that exists. In itself it is a medical condition that causes ‘splitting’ headaches. Stress is the most common factor attributed to causing headache and migraine, however the weather can further aggravate the symptoms.

Weather depressions

When a depression approaches, the atmospheric pressure drops while the amount of cloud and the humidity rise. This is often accompanied by an increase in wind. These four parameters can trigger or aggravate migraines. Additionally extreme heat, extreme cold and thunderstorms also increase the risk of migraine symptoms.

Is stable weather preferable?

When a high pressure area is in close proximity there are normally stable weather conditions with little wind, lots of sunshine and above all little fluctuation. In general, this weather type has a positive influence on migraine symptoms.

However also in stable situations, the occurrence of extreme cold or heat can increase the likelihood of migraine. For some people the brightness of direct sunlight can also trigger symptoms.

Other causes

Strong winds can increase the risk of migraines. Strong winds are not only associated with a depression. In mountainous areas there are often strong mountain winds. Desert winds can also enhance migraine.

In addition, air pollution in urban areas is also detrimental for people with migraines. Chemical substances in the air reduce the amount of available oxygen. As a result of this the brain often dilates the blood vessels to maintain oxygen supply. This blood vessel dilation exerts pressure on parts of the brain and causes headache.

Source: “How the weather affects your health” by Manfred Kaiser

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