Obesity increases the risk of a host of risky illnesses. Another one may have just been added to the list.
You might think you know all about how obesity influences pain. Extra weight can put added stress on joints to contribute to knee, ankle, or hip pain. It can also promote inflammatory conditions.
New research is now showing it could lead to a rare form of severe headache. These headaches, known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), occur when fluid around your brain and spinal cord builds up in your skull.
These headaches can lead to debilitating pain, blind spots, and even vision loss. Treatment may even require brain surgery.
At one time, they were very rare. But as waistlines have expanded, so has the instance of IIH. A recent study published in Neurology suggests that as obesity rates in Wales rose from 29% to 40% between 1975 and 2016, IIHS rates went up six times.
Healthday reported that the lead author of the study, William Owen Pickrell, suggested these results would likely be applicable worldwide.
Weight loss, however, appears to improve headache symptoms even though the exact cause is understood.
Now, just because you may be obese and prone to severe headaches does not mean you have IIH. Obesity is a risk factor for less severe and more common migraine headaches, so you don’t necessarily need to be alarmed.
In the Wales study, for example, IIH was found in 76 of 100,000 people.
Obesity hurts, plain and simple. It can affect you from head to toe and boost the risk of a host of diseases. But with a little bit of effort and the assistance of a professional, you can come up with a safe and tailored plan to help you lose weight and reduce pain.
To help get you started, here are a few ideas:
- Get a good night’s sleep by increasing daily activity and setting sleep and wake times.
- Eat slowly and take time to enjoy food. Portion control can make a huge difference.
- Try to find ways to include activity into your day, even if it’s walking down the halls of your home once per hour.