Does it seem like your headaches get worse the older you get? Aging itself doesn’t increase your risk for migraines, but some lifestyle factors can — which means adopting certain changes or habits as you get older might result in more debilitating head pain, says Dr. Rohit Gupta, the best Neurologist in Delhi NCR.
For most people, it builds in intensity in your 20s and through your 40s, until it crests. Then, in your 50s and onward, things tend to become more tolerable. Headaches gradually become less frequent and intense and more responsive to treatment.
But if you’re noticing that your existing migraines have gotten worse instead of better, a shift in habits could potentially be to blame. Here’re some of the culprits.
You’re dealing with added stress
Stress and migraines are linked in a vicious cycle. Stress in your life can trigger a migraine and keep it going. Chronic migraine pain can boost your stress. As many as 80% of people who get migraines list stress as a common trigger.
This is because coping with stress becomes harder with age due to things like chronic illnesses, lack of sleep and common life challenges.
In short, your stress management strategies have fallen.
You’re in your perimenopause stage
For many women who have had hormone-related headaches, migraines become more frequent and severe during perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) – because hormone levels rise and fall unevenly.
The good news is that hormone-related migraines don’t usually last forever. “There’s typically a drastic improvement after menopause.
Certain medications might be the migraine trigger
One of the common is medication to manage high blood pressure (a condition that becomes more common with age). These meds could be the culprit behind your migraines.
If you suspect any new medication is triggering your migraines, talk with your neurologist. You may be able to lower your dose or switch to another drug.
Your drinking habit has increased
The excess booze could be to blame for your might headache. Alcohol is a diuretic – it acts on your kidneys to make you pee more fluid than you’re taking in. Losing fluid from your body like this can lead to dehydration, which can cause headaches. So, if you’re prone to migraines, you might get one if you drink to excess.
You’re more addicted to coffee than before
Like alcohol, caffeine can also be a migraine trigger. People who have three or more caffeinated drinks per day are more likely to get a migraine compared to those who have just one or two.
Additionally, studies have shown that ingesting too much caffeine is a risk factor for chronic migraine, which is a headache that can last for multiple days every month.
While a little bit of caffeine may help ease a migraine episode, too much may have the opposite effect.
You’re not sleeping well
Aging often comes with more sleep troubles. And getting too little shut-eye is a common migraine trigger. Research has long established a relationship between sleeping problems and headache disorders, including migraines, tension-type headache, and the less common cluster headache and hypnic headache.
In addition to increasing the risk for migraines, sleep deprivation has also been shown to increase the severity and frequency of migraine.
Check in with your provider for migraines that happen regularly or get in the way of your everyday life. You should also let your neurologist know if you’re over 50 and have never been affected by migraines before. That would help to rule out any possible serious underlying causes.