Are Asthma and Migraine Related?

Asthma has been found to be comorbid with chronic daily headache. (This was chronic migraine without any evidence of medication overuse.) A Norwegian study of over 50,000 people found that headache (both migraine and non-migraine headache) was 1.5 times more likely to occur in asthma sufferers, as well as chronic bronchitis and hay fever. In this study, more women than men had asthma (although more men had chronic bronchitis).

A British study of similar size found that the risk of developing asthma in a migraineur was 1.3 times higher than in a non-migraine sufferer.

Asthma can also serve as a migraine trigger, although asthma does not cause migraine. (Migraine does not cause asthma, either.) The association of asthma and migraine is well established, but the cause of that association is not known.

Just as in migraine, it's important to identify what your asthma triggers are, and avoid them when possible. Obviously, it is not possible to avoid all pollen exposure. However, you can minimize exposure to dust (and dust mites), and to cigarette smoke.



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by Christina Peterson, M.D.

updated June 20, 2011