Patients with diabetes and migraine have a similar problem – They often tend to have more than one condition. It would be one thing if you could just focus on diabetes, but this is rarely what happens.
Instead, you end up fighting a variety of ailments. For example, what if it’s diabetes plus low back pain? Plus arthritis? Plus headaches and/or a migraine?
Conditions that tend to arise together are called co-morbid. Alternatively, some conditions are actually symptoms of a more serious ailment.
For example, a headaches may simply be a symptom of diabetes, or multiple sclerosis, or something else entirely.
Migraine and Diabetes share one very common co-morbid condition – depression. It’s not that one causes the other – but it could be that a biological dysfunction in the body tends to cause both conditions.
We still know very little about co-morbid conditions. So, how do we deal with them?
One way is to recognize the challenge. It’s not easy to have two or more major conditions to deal with, such as diabetes and migraine. Your doctor needs to be aware of both problems; however, juggling the two can mean you don’t pay enough attention to either.
It’s important to remember that both migraine and diabetes are significant and should not be ignored. We also need to realize that treating one could help lessen the symptoms of the other.
Here are some things to consider if you’re dealing with both diabetes and migraine:
Diet: We all know that a proper diet is very important for diabetes health. But diet is also important in reducing migraine symptoms. Yes, you can eat in a way to fight both – but you need to keep both in mind. You can find things to eat that are good for both conditions, then make a list of easy recipes you can use.
Physical activity: Exercise is also very important for both migraine and diabetes. However, many people find that exercise can actually trigger a headache. Some tips to avoid this problem are to start slow, warm up, cool down, and stay hydrated.
Stay on Schedule : As much as possible, stay on a schedule when it comes to sleep and eating. This alone can avoid migraine symptoms and it’s obviously important for good diabetes health as well.
Weight Loss: Weight loss can also help with both migraine and diabetes. In extreme cases, surgery may be helpful. A recent study showed that overweight patients with migraines that had bariatric (weight reduction) surgery had fewer headache days and less disability after surgery. The same surgery can help with lowering blood sugar levels.
Keep Your Doctor Informed: It’s critical that your doctor know your medical history, family medical history and current medical conditions. This includes migraine symptoms as well. She also needs to know what medications and supplements you’re taking, and what treatments you’re using. Be aware that treatments for one can have an impact on another. Bottom Line: Communicate with your doctor!
Consider Alternative Treatments: A common example is a medication that treats both migraine and depression. Many migraine sufferers take depression medications – even when they’re not depressed. Depression medications can help fight migraine symptoms. Be open to medications and treatments that are good for more than one thing.
The good news is that there are many very helpful treatments for both migraine and diabetes. Many people have found help – and you can too!
James Cottrill is a health writer at the Headache and Migraine News . He’s been writing for migraine patients since 2003.
Last Reviewed January 2012.