Scientists find diabetes may protect against migraines

by Barbara Hewitt on January 25, 2018

Diabetes itself, complications of diabetes, or the drugs used to treat the condition may have protective effects which mean that diabetics are less likely to suffer from migraines, new research has found.

A link between diabetes and migraines was first suggested in the 1970s when some doctors noticed that people with diabetes seemed less likely to complain about migraine symptoms but no evidence was forthcoming.


(By BlurryMe/

While several studies have investigated whether people with one disorder are less likely to have the other, but the results were mixed but now a study from Norway has looked specifically at the relationship between diabetes and migraine.

The researchers from the University of Bergen carried out a cohort study of the entire Norwegian population who were alive on 01 January 2004 to identify individuals with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and migraine during the 10 year follow up.

They looked at the effect of diabetes on risk for migraine, adjusting for age, sex, and education level and identified 7,883 people with type 1 diabetes and 93,600 with type 2 diabetes.

In the age and sex adjusted analyses, type 1 diabetes was significantly associated with a decreased risk for migraine during follow-up and type 2 diabetes was also associated with a significantly lower risk for migraine. Further adjusting for educational level yielded similar results.

Incidence of migraine was 26% lower in people with type 1 diabetes and 11% lower for people with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers concluded that both types of diabetes were associated with a lower risk of migraine and that the results suggest that diabetes may present a protective factor against developing migraine.

The way the study was run did not enable researchers to look into why people with diabetes were at lower risk of migraine. The research report adds that more research will be needed to investigate why people with diabetes show lower risk of migraine.

‘It could give us some insight into the mechanisms of migraine, and in future could improve the treatment of migraine,’ said Ippazio Antonazzo from the University of Bergen.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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