Help for headaches: Thyroid testing could be recommended

Help for headaches: Thyroid testing recommended (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - New hope if people suffer from headaches.

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati found getting treatment for another common condition could help people feel better. A father-son team at the Headache and Facial Pain Center at UC just a completed a new study. They found if people suffer from headaches, they may be at increased risk for a thyroid condition which can throw off a balance of hormones in the body.

Marcia Stieby managed her symptoms of severe headaches for years until a few years ago Dr. Vincent Martin, a headache specialist, eventually put her on a combination of medications to reduce at least the frequency of those symptoms.

Stieby said, "I have a chart that I keep that I track them, he knows exactly."

Recently however, Dr. Martin and his son Andrew who is a medical student and researcher discovered Marcia and others who experience not just headaches but also fatigue, constipation, hair loss, and depression.

"If you have existing headaches you are more prone to develop thyroid disease,” said Dr. Martin.

As part of the study, the team reviewed those with headaches who were followed for more than a decade and found some interesting results, “What we found was if you had a headache disorder of any kind there was about a 20 percent increase in developing hypothyroidism in the next 12 years. If you had probable migraine, there was about a 40 percent risk," shared Dr. Martin.

Andrew Martin said, "Migraine and headache disorders and also hypothyroidism, you don't think of those two things, being in the same category of diseases."

The bottom line was that if people experience headaches there was some tests people may want to ask their doctor about. People may need to be treated for those problems.

While the headaches may not go away completely it could help people make sure their health was improved and they physically felt better. Low thyroid can be treated with medication which can help people with everything from energy to weight loss.

The information was available as a long-term follow up from the Fernald Study. That was an environmental study done to look at health outcomes from those living near that former uranium processing plant in Crosby Township. They had a medical monitoring program set up, which allowed them to track those with headaches and see the much higher rate of low thyroid, compared to those without headaches.

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