Scouring the health data of more than 74,000 French women, researchers at the Gustave Roussy Institute in France have spotted a glimmer of optimism hiding behind a cloud of gloomy symptoms.
Based on a long-term health study between 1925 and 1950, the findings suggest that women who suffer from migraines have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The good news comes as quite the surprise; migraines don’t exactly keep the best company in the medical world. Past research suggests that this excruciating neurological disease is linked to a plethora of other serious ailments, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and much more.
Some research has even suggested that migraines could be linked to insulin resistance, causing elevated blood glucose. And, similar to migraines, insulin resistance is also linked to obesity.
But despite all these close connections, that is not, in fact, what the new study found.
After adjusting for body weight and other health factors, the recent findings reveal that women who experience migraines are at a 30 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
And the researchers also noticed something else. In the years before women were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the patients began to report fewer migraines.
What’s more, once a diagnosis was finally made, the number of migraines levelled off completely, staying this way for decades after.
The strange pattern suggests that as women develop type 2 diabetes, the number of migraines they experience goes down.
“Because plasma glucose concentration rises with time up to the point of type 2 diabetes occurrence, the prevalence of migraine symptoms may decrease,” the authors propose.
To be clear, this is just an interesting association and it doesn’t mean that one of these diseases is causing or protecting against the other. If we want to fully explain this odd relationship between diabetes and migraines, more research will be needed.
Nevertheless, the authors of the study hope that the new findings will have a lasting impact.
If the development of type 2 diabetes really does cause migraines to decrease, this could be an important new way to diagnose the number one leading form of blood sugar disease.
This study has been published in JAMA Neurology.