Presence of Headache and Migraine in Asthma Patients

Turk Thorac J. 2017 Apr;18(2):47-51. doi: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2017.16008. Epub 2017 Apr 1.


Objectives: Migraine is a diseases characterized with severe headaches, with neurological and systemic findings. The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence of migraine and to examine whether there is a relationship between atopic disorders, parental history and migraine in asthma patients.

Material and methods: A total of 288 asthma outpatients, who had the diagnosis by an early or late test of reversibility showing a reversible airway obstruction according to hospital database were included. The presence of headache, atopic symptoms and parental history about asthma, atopic disorders and migraine were asked. The patients with headache were consultated by neurology department and investigated about the presence of migraine. The diagnosis of migraine headache was made if patients fulfilled the International Headache Society (IHS) criteria.

Results: 60.4% of patients described a headache. There were 94 patients (32.6%) with headaches meeting the IHS criteria for migraine. Only 12 patients had migraine with aura. There were atopic symptoms in 86.8% of patients. According to parental history, there were asthma in 47.9%, atopic symptoms in 39.6% and migraine in 22.2% of parents. Patients with atopic symptoms were found to have significantly high rate of headaches (65.3%) "p=0.007". The prevalence of migraine was significantly high in patients with parental atopic symptoms (54%) "p=0.002". Multiple logistic regression analysis identified that gender, parental history of asthma, allergia and migraine, and smoking were independent risk factors for presence of migraine in asthmatics.

Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of migraine headaches in patients with asthma. The coexistence of asthma and headaches may be related with a similar pathophysiological mechanism; parental history, common genetic compounds and smoking may play role in this mechanism. The headaches in asthma patients, atopic symptoms and family history should be questioned, and clinicians should be careful about the presence of migraine.

Keywords: Asthma; headache; migraine.