Migraine cases go up as daytime temperature increases
Rise in the day temperature in the city has led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of severe headaches and migraines, said city-based doctors, who reported a rise of at least 40% in such cases in their out-patient departments in the past week. They added that most of their patients have been in the 15-30 years age bracket.
According to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) data, day temperatures have risen at least 4°C in the past week. The day temperature had touched 31.3°C on March 24 and has stayed around 29.5°C the following days.
According to a study by Harvard University researchers, published in the journal ‘Neurology’, higher temperatures coupled with lower barometric pressure around the summer season, contribute to severe headaches.
“Heat causes the muscles to tighten which leads to headaches. Sudden, increased exposure to the sun is a trigger for migraine,” said Dr Mukesh Kumar, neurologist, Max Hospital, There has been around 40-50% rise in the number of people coming in with the issue, he added. He would, on a normal day, attend to about three patients with migraines and headaches. Over the past week, the number has risen to five, and he expects it to rise.
“As the heat increases, more people report an increase in the frequency and intensity of migraines. Most cases around that time require emergency admissions and injections for treatment,” Dr Kumar said.
An IMD forecast said the maximum temperature is likely to touch 40°C in the first week of April, and that El Nino’s impact may be at play till May, making chances of heatwave higher this summer. El Nino refers to large-scale ocean-atmospheric climate interaction linked to warming in the sea surface temperatures in the region around the Equator.
Apart from the rising heat, doctors also blamed unhealthy lifestyle in summers for increase in headaches. “People, particularly youngsters, become prone to headaches due to heat, combined with irregular sleep and less intake of water,” said Dr P Venkata Krishnan, consultant, internal medicine, Paras Hospital, adding he is now seeing seven to eight cases of intense headaches and migraine daily as compared to two per day earlier.