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Can Secondhand Smoke Cause Migraines

Smoking More Than Five Cigarettes A Day May Provoke Migraine Attacks

What causes neck pain with headache? – Dr. Sanjay Panicker
FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Tobacco acts as a precipitating factor for headaches, specifically migraines. This is indicated in a study which shows that smokers have more migraine attacks and that smoking more than five cigarettes a day triggers this headache.

Tobacco acts as a precipitating factor for headaches, specifically migraines, new research suggests. This is indicated in a study which shows that smokers have more migraine attacks and that smoking more than five cigarettes a day triggers this headache. The work has appeared in the Journal of Headache and Pain.

The influence of tobacco as a precipitating, non-causal factor of migraine attacks has produced contradictory data in scientific literature. The limited research prior to the work published in The Journal of Headache and Pain indicated that smoking could improve migraines by reducing anxiety, one of the factors that triggers an attack.

“This study is groundbreaking in Spain as there are few studies on this topic, and all are very biased. This is due to the complexity and need for prior training of the participants”, Julio Pascual, one of the authors of this research and doctor at the Neurology Unit of Marqu├ęs de Valdecilla, University Hospital , explains to SINC.

90% of affected people self-medicate

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Foods That Can Actually Prevent Migraines

Although changes in your diet may not completely stave off migraine attacks, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and vitamins and minerals in certain foods can help. If you are prone to migraines, eat whole, natural foods that dont have preservatives or artificial flavorings, and dont skip meals. Here are some foods that can prevent migraines:

If youre experiencing migraine symptoms, GoHealth Urgent Care can help. Use the dropdown menu below to find a location near you and save your spot online.

Secondhand Smoke Causes Cardiovascular Disease

Exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and can cause coronary heart disease and stroke.2,4,5

  • Secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers.4
  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 2530%.1
  • Secondhand smoke increases the risk for stroke by 2030%.4
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes more than 8,000 deaths from stroke annually.4

Breathing secondhand smoke can have immediate adverse effects on your blood and blood vessels, increasing the risk of having a heart attack.2,3,4

  • Breathing secondhand smoke interferes with the normal functioning of the heart, blood, and vascular systems in ways that increase the risk of having a heart attack.
  • Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can damage the lining of blood vessels and cause your blood platelets to become stickier. These changes can cause a deadly heart attack.

People who already have heart disease are at especially high risk of suffering adverse effects from breathing secondhand smoke and should take special precautions to avoid even brief exposures.1

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How Is Secondhand Smoke Exposure Diagnosed

Most people who inhale secondhand smoke are not tested for exposure. If you regularly breathe in someone elses smoke, your doctor may test your saliva , urine or blood for amounts of inhaled nicotine.

Your healthcare provider also may test your lung function to measure damage. Pulmonary function tests can identify conditions related to secondhand smoke dangers, like asthma.

Smoking As A Precipitating Factor To Migraines

14 Migraine Triggers You Should Know About

In the early 2000s, the relationship between smoking and migraines was still poorly understood. There were even some researchers who felt that smoking might decrease migraines by lowering stress and anxiety levels. However, in more recent years, the evidence has become more clear: tobacco use is a precipitating factor in migraine attacks.

Does this mean that smoking causes migraines? Not exactly. The root causes of migraine are not fully understood yet, even by the most advanced researchers. Smoking will not turn someone into a migraine sufferer who would not otherwise be prone to migraines. Instead, describing smoking as a precipitating factor means that it contributes to the development of migraines. In this case, smoking can make migraines more frequent, and it can make them worse.

The results of one study conducted in Spain illustrate the relationship between migraine and smoking well. In a sample of 361 medical students, 29% of migraine sufferers were smokers, whereas only 20% of non-migraine sufferers were smokers. Among the women, 22% of all women were smokers, whereas 34% of migraine sufferers were smokers. The researchers also found a correlation between the number of cigarettes smoked and the frequency of migraines the participants who smoked more had more frequent migraines.

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Smoking May Worsen Cranial Autonomic Symptoms

Weve touched on the idea that smoking can make migraine symptoms worse, so lets dig into that a little more. Smoking seems to be associated with a specific subset of migraine symptoms called cranial autonomic symptoms, or CAS. These are symptoms associated with the cranial nerves, which stretch across the face, and specifically their autonomic functions those are functions you dont consciously control, such as sweating, inflammation, and blood vessel dilation.

CAS include:

Thc Present In Urine Of Children Exposed To Secondhand Marijuana Smoke

One study examined secondhand marijuana smoke effects on the children of marijuana users. Nearly half of the children in the study showed detectable levels of marijuana in their urine. Secondhand marijuana smoke could cause long-term developmental damage in growing children.

Children are not the only population vulnerable to secondhand smoke. Other vulnerable groups include:

  • People with allergies or asthma, who are more susceptible to lung infections or respiratory problems such as pneumonia
  • Individuals living with immune deficiencies or chronic diseases

If you are concerned about exposure to secondhand smoke for yourself or a family member, contact your primary care provider.

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Tobacco Exposure Influences Cluster Headache Presentation

    The United States Cluster Headache Survey revealed differences in presentation between cluster headache sufferers exposed to tobacco and those not exposed, according to research published in Headache.

    This study found that respondents who were exposed to tobacco presented more severely in terms of headache frequency, disability due to headaches, and cycle frequency.

    They also reported the development of cluster headaches at age 40 and older, were more likely to have experienced head trauma than nonexposed subjects , and had a higher likelihood of transitioning to chronic cluster headaches from episodic ones .

    Those exposed to tobacco experienced more cranial autonomic symptoms and agitation, as well as increased thoughts of suicide .

    The respondents who were not exposed were more likely to experience cluster headaches prior to age 40 this group also demonstrated a higher incidence of family history of migraines. It was less common for those not exposed to present with specific headache triggers, and their headache cycles varied more over time than with the exposed phenotype .

    While both clinical phenotypes experienced disabling pain, the subjects who were not exposed had less disability at work and fewer sick days.

    Johns Hopkins Researchers Test Exposure In ‘extreme’ Conditions

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    That’s one of the findings from the first comprehensive study on secondhand marijuana smoke since the 1980s, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In the decades since then, the potency of the drug, in its street form, has tripled.

    The new study, published this month in The Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, tested secondhand exposure under “extreme conditions” in an unventilated room filled with pot smoke. After spending an hour in such conditions, nonsmokers showed “positive drug effects in the first few hours, a mild sense of intoxication, and mild impairment on measures of cognitive performance,” said study author Ryan Vandrey, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Hopkins.

    In addition, detectable amounts of THCtetrahydrocannabinol, pot’s active ingredientshowed up in their blood and urine samples afterwards, in some cases enough to test positive for workplace or commercial drug testing programs.

    The study’s lead author, Evan S. Herrmann, noted that testing conditions constituted “a worst-case scenario.” Those conditions, replicated in “the real world couldn’t happen to someone without him or her being aware of it,” said Hermann, a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Hopkins.

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    Migraine Causes And How To Prevent Them With Your Diet

    When you have a migraine, you likely have a hard time doing anything. All you want to do is lie down in a dark room with a cold washcloth on your head and will the pain away.

    Pulsing, throbbing, pounding and often debilitating migraines affect approximately 36 million Americans. Although not always preventable, understanding migraine causes, including foods that cause migraines, can help sufferers avoid them.

    Its also important to distinguish between a regular headache and an actual migraine.

    Secondhand Smoke Causes Lung Cancer

    Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults who have never smoked.4

    • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 2030%.2
    • Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year.4
    • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers.2,3,4
    • Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion.4
    • As with active smoking, the longer the duration and the higher the level of exposure to secondhand smoke, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer.4

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    Can Smoking Contribute To Headaches

    Current scientific evidence suggests that cigarette smoke may contribute substantially to headache disorders. There are several mechanisms by which this may occur:

    • Smoking may cause headache by raising carbon monoxide levels in the blood and brain, in much the same way as a faulty furnace or a car running in an enclosed garage can provoke headache.
    • Reduced oxygenation will also cause headache and deprive tissues of needed oxygen which may be relevant to other pain-related illness.
    • Nicotine itself has a toxic effect on the brain and also alters liver metabolism which has an adverse effect on many of the drugs that are used to control headaches.

    It is our recommendation that all patients experiencing recurrent headache should discontinue cigarette smoking as part of their treatment program. We also strongly encourage a smoke-free environment in the home and workplace.

    Sinus Trouble Secondhand Smoke May Be To Blame

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    • Even relatively small amounts of secondhand smoke can lead to chronic sinusitis
    • Chronic sinusitis — which lasts12 weeks or more — affects about 1 in 6 adults in the U.S.
    • Breathing secondhand smoke at work more than doubled the risk of chronic sinusitis
    • 60 percent of U.S. nonsmokers are exposed to the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke


    — If you have perpetually clogged and swollen sinuses, secondhand smoke — even in small amounts may be to blame. According to a new study, secondhand smoke may be responsible for up to 40 percent of cases of chronic sinusitis.

    “People should be aware of their exposure when they go to friends’ houses, when they go to parties and weddings, playing card games,” says the lead author of the study, Martin Tammemagi, Ph.D., an associate professor of community health sciences at Brock University, in St. Catharines, Ontario. “They shouldn’t allow themselves to be exposed and they shouldn’t be exposing other people.”

    Sinusitis describes a range of unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms that include nasal and sinus inflammation, congestion, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, and a reduced sense of smell. The chronic version of the condition — which is defined as lasting for 12 weeks or more — affects about 1 in 6 adults in the U.S., according to the study.

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    When Does Secondhand Smoke Damage Start

    Studies have shown that damage from secondhand smoke occurs in as little as five minutes:

    • After five minutes: Arteries becomes less flexible, just like they do in a person who is smoking a cigarette.
    • After 20-30 minutes: Blood starts clotting, and fat deposits in blood vessels increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
    • After two hours: An irregular heartbeat can develop and trigger a heart attack or other serious cardiac problems.

    Are There Risk Factors That Increase The Chances Of Smoking Headaches

    There is a possibility that some groups of people are at higher risk of developing headaches from smoking. A study showed that those who were exposed to tobacco, either first hand or second hand, at an earlier age may be more susceptible to getting cluster headaches. The trend is that the headaches typically have a later age of onset, but the symptoms are more severe because the body has built up toxins from nicotine exposure.

    Interestingly, those who were exposed to tobacco at an earlier age were also more likely to have alcohol-triggered headaches. Other commonalities the group shared is that many are heavy coffee drinkers and they had more missed days of work due to disabilities.

    People who are susceptible to headaches when smoking tend to have worsening headaches over time. Instead of being episodic, headaches eventually become frequent, chronic, and even more challenging to get rid of.

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    Secondhand Smoke Harms Children

    Secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children.2,4

    • Studies show that older children whose parents smoke get sick more often. Their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke, and they get more bronchitis and pneumonia.
    • Wheezing and coughing are more common in children who breathe secondhand smoke.
    • Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in a child. Children with asthma who are around secondhand smoke have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a childs life in danger.
    • Children whose parents smoke around them get more ear infections. They also have fluid in their ears more often and have more operations to put in ear tubes for drainage.

    Parents can help protect their children from secondhand smoke by taking the following actions:9

    • Do not allow anyone to smoke anywhere in or near your home.
    • Do not allow anyone to smoke in your car, even with the window down.
    • Make sure your childrens day care centers and schools are tobacco-free.
    • If your state still allows smoking in public areas, look for restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking. No-smoking sections do not protect you and your family from secondhand smoke.

    Quit Smoking Headaches Caused By Other Influences

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    While quitting smoking may cause headaches, there are other things to be aware of when it comes to dealing with nicotine withdrawal. For example, if you begin to use quit smoking aids to help you stick to your commitment to stop smoking for good, these also have the potential to trigger headaches.

    For example, while NRT products are perfectly safe to use, overloading your body with nicotine when using them may lead to headaches. It is important to follow the instructions provided when using these stop smoking aids and to listen to any advice from your pharmacist when you purchase them.

    It has also been shown that abruptly stopping the use of nicotine replacement therapy products has the potential to cause headaches2. It is important to remember that you should gradually reduce the amount of nicotine over a period of time, allowing your body to adjust gradually rather than suddenly while using these products.

    Additionally, both Varenicline and Bupropion list headaches among their possible side-affects.3 These prescription-only drugs should only be taken on advice from your doctor, and while headaches may be uncomfortable, these drugs have been shown to help smokers quit over the long term.

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    Ways To Say Don’t Smoke Around Me

    Even limited exposure to secondhand smoke can be harmful. But asking astranger, or even a friend or family member, not so smoke around you canbe awkward. Our readers have some tips for asking others to protect yourhealth by not smoking around you.

    Trying to take better control of your health? Steer clear of secondhand smoke.

    Heres the surprising reason: The amount of many cancer-causing chemicals is higher in secondhand smoke than in the smoke inhaled by smokers, accroding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, nearly 3,400 nonsmokers die of lung cancer in the United States each year.

    Even limited exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and trigger a heart attack. And if youre a cancer patient, secondhand smoke can make your cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, less effective.

    So, how can you tell someone not to light up around you? Heres how our and other friends from around the web take charge of their health. Get inspired by their strategies for asking a smoker to snuff out.

    My neighbor was smoking and the smoke would trail into my studio. I explained that I was getting headaches from the smoke, and that it was really becoming a problem. She apologized and said she would not smoke indoors anymore.Janet R.

    I found that just asking them to move doesn’t work, as most of the time they don’t care. What does work is telling them I’m allergic to it. I’m not really, but it is the best solution I’ve found so far!Kelli E.

    How Is A Nicotine Headache Treated

    If you use nicotine regularly, your healthcare provider will likely encourage you to quit. Quitting nicotine use is the best way to get rid of nicotine headaches permanently. Giving up nicotine has many other health benefits, too.

    Keep in mind that nicotine withdrawal can also lead to headaches in the first two to three weeks after quitting nicotine. To help you find nicotine withdrawal headache relief, your provider may recommend:

    • Over-the-counter pain medications: Acetaminophen , ibuprofen and naproxen can provide pain relief. Be aware that using nicotine can make these medicines less effective.
    • Prescription medications: Medicines such as triptans or calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors may relieve migraine symptoms.

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