Migraines may be genetic, according to a new scientific breakthrough. According to news reports, scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston say they’ve uncovered a trio of genes tied to migraines, including one that is exclusively linked to women. They found inheriting any one of the genes can increase a person’s risk of developing the painful headaches by as much as 15 percent.
People who suffer from migraines may have a way to control the frequency and severity of their attacks without the use of prescription drugs. An estimated 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States are affected by migraines, and studies have shown that while migraine affliction is inherited, it is also affected by environmental factors. In a recent review of existing research on migraines and diet, Christina Sun-Edelstein, MD and Alexander Mauskop, MD suggest several dietary and supplementation strategies which may benefit migraine sufferers.
The authors write that migraine attacks can often be triggered by certain foods, though each individual may respond differently to common food triggers. As a result, they recommended that migraine sufferers maintain a food and symptom diary to help identify their specific triggers.
Alcohol was found to be the highest contributor to migraine attacks. Dark colored alcoholic beverages such as red wine, whiskey and bourbon were more likely to cause migraines than light colored alcoholic beverages. It is suggested that people prone to alcoholic migraines, or alcohol hangover headaches, should stay well hydrated and consume foods high in fat and sugar to reduce the absorption of alcohol if they choose to drink.
There are other lifestyle changes that can decrease the prevalence migraines.
- Avoid skipping meals and fasting, which causes low blood sugar and may result in migraine attacks.
- Develop a normal sleeping pattern: Lack of sleep and oversleeping can lead to migraines.
- Exercise regularly and try to reduce stress, which can also lead to migraines.
For more information on migraines check out this article Migraine Headaches: 5 Common Food Triggers and One Bizarre Cause