A number of studies have shown correlations between high cholesterol levels and migraines. However, until now no one has really been able to establish a connection with migraine severity, nor have they been able to demonstrate that cholesterol levels might be impacted by migraine treatment. Now, though, a new study claims to have made both these connections.
Exploring the Migraine-Cholesterol Connection
In this small study, 17 patients who had migraine with aura and 36 who had migraines without aura had their cholesterol analyzed. Then they were given a migraine prophylaxis drug treatment for three months, then their cholesterol levels were tested again.
Researchers found that at the beginning of the study, high total cholesterol levels were strongly correlated with high frequency and high intensity migraines. The same was true for low-density lipoprotein (LDL, AKA “bad cholesterol”) levels and migraines. The higher the LDL, the more frequent and more intense the migraines.
They also found that after patients were treated with migraine prophylaxis, not only did their migraines diminish in frequency and severity, but cholesterol levels fell.
Although there was a strong correlation between cholesterol levels and migraine severity, there was no difference between patients who experienced migraines with aura or without aura.
Is There a Causal Relation?
The subject of the relationship between cholesterol levels and migraines is still very uncertain. We don’t know whether high cholesterol levels make migraines worse, migraines cause higher cholesterol levels, or if both are effects of some other condition. Work has tied together cholesterol risk, migraines, and stroke, showing that women who had migraines with aura were more likely to suffer stroke at a younger age, i.e. under 55, and that these women also tended to have higher cholesterol levels.
With this degree of uncertainty, we can’t say either that reducing your cholesterol levels will improve your migraines or that treating your migraines will reduce your cholesterol. But it’s possible that there will be some kind of synergistic relationship between these two approaches to improving your health, which would be all to the good.
If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional drug treatments for migraines in Columbia, SC, please call for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry today.