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Once Again… Migraine Linked to Higher Stroke Risk in Women

More evidence is shedding serious light on the high stroke risk facing women with migraines. New research shows that female migraine sufferers have more than double the risk of suffering a stroke. Scientists say the finding adds even more evidence to the suspected link between the two conditions.

“This is important since migraine is generally not considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Cecil Rambarat, a resident physician at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Previous Studies Also Link Migraines to Stroke

Previous research has linked migraines — especially the form known as “migraine with aura” — to stroke. Migraine with aura is estimated to affect one in four migraine patients, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. In these people, changes in vision may accompany their headaches, including:

  • blurry vision
  • sensitivity to bright lights
  • seeing zig-zag or squiggly lines

Risk Factors For Women with Migraines

The newest study tracked more than 900 women in the U.S. who showed signs of heart disease between 1996 and 1999. The average age of the participants was 58.

During six years of follow-up, scientists found 18% of the women with a history of migraine headaches had a heart attack or stroke compared to 17% of those who didn’t experience migraines. But, the difference became “significant” after the researchers adjusted their statistics to account for other risk factors. The researchers found that migraine patients were nearly twice as likely to suffer from cardiac problems — such as heart attack or stroke — than those who didn’t have migraines, and had more than double the risk of a stroke.

The Possible Connection

Although the study doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect link between migraines and strokes, there are several theories about the connection.

Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, director of the Headache Research and Treatment Center at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences in Ohio, said,”… it’s possible that the issue may lie in blood vessels as a whole, not just those in the brain, since the vessels play a role in strokes, cardiac conditions and migraines”

Recommendation for Women with Migraines

Researchers recommend that women with migraines should control their risk factors for heart disease. They should avoid smoking, control cholesterol and be cautious about estrogen-based birth control pills because they may increase the risk of stroke.

Seeking professional migraine treatment is also extremely important. If you are a woman who get migraines frequently or only occasionally, the time is NOW to start exploring your options for treatment. Start by researching drug-free options, like TruDenta migraine treatment offered here at Pasadena Pain Management. We can help you identify the underlying cause of your migraines and get you on the right treatment plan.

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