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Heat a headache for migraine patients

india Updated: May 08, 2009 01:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Heat a headache for migraine patients

Kandivli resident Savita Thukral had stepped out of her home for just 10 minutes on Wednesday afternoon but she came back with a throbbing headache.

The 31-year-old, who suffers from migraine, had to take pills and lie down for hours before she felt any better.

The hot weather has only triggered an increase in the frequency of migraine attacks.

“I avoid going out during the day but I have to go to the market sometimes,” said Thukral. “The intensity of attacks is also much worse because of the heat.”

Thukral is not the only one. With the temperature in the city hovering around 35 degrees Celsius, headaches have become a daily problem for most migraine patients.

Migraine is a neurological disorder but external factors like heat and bright light trigger attacks and increase the patient’s suffering.

Dr Krishnamurthy Ravi-shankar, who is in-charge of the headache and migraine clinics in Jaslok and Leelavati hospitals, has been inundated with calls and visits from patients.

“There has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of patients coming to my clinics,” he said.

The head of the neurology department at KEM hospital, Dr S.H. Ravat, said there has been a 10 to 20 per cent rise in the number of migraine patients at the out patient department.

“I usually see about three migraine patients every week. But I have been getting five to six patients a week since the beginning of summer,” she said.

According to the doctors, “controlling the triggers” is the best option for migraine sufferers. “I advice my patients to stay indoors till sunset. But I also have to increase the dose of the anti-migraine pills for many of them,” said Dr Ravishankar.

Dr Roop Gursahani, consultant neurologist with PD Hinduja hospital, said more than the heat, it is the bright sunlight which triggers migraine. “Patients should wear dark sunglasses if they have to go out.”

Till recently, there was no scientific evidence of the connection between temperatures and migraine attacks. But a study published in the March edition of the international Neurology journal has established that hot weather triggers migraine and other types of headaches.

The researchers have found that a five degrees Celsius rise in temperature increases the chance of a severe headache within 24 hours by 7.5 per cent.