A recent study links women with migraines to heart attack or stroke. In fact, they are twice as likely to suffer a cardiovascular event.

My Aching Head!

In the past, a specific type of migraine headache has been linked to stroke. It’s called a “migraine with aura”, which affects one in four male or female migraine sufferers. These patients can be affected by bright light, experience vision blurriness or even distorted vision.
The results of a new preliminary study were recently presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016. For three years, 917 women were evaluated for risk of heart disease. After a six-year follow-up, those who had suffered migraines had a 225% increased risk in a future cardiovascular event.

Study Specifics

This particular study was conducted with just female participants. Their average age was 58, and over 75% were Caucasian. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Rambarat, claimed that after factoring other risk factors, the women who had migraines were twice as likely to have cardiac problems.
Additionally, after the six-year follow-up, the increased risk of stroke turned out to be much greater than having a heart attack.
Some of the “other” risk factors were: age, BMI, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and family history of heart disease. The study doesn’t claim that migraines cause strokes. However, the connection between the two shouldn’t be ignored.

What to Do With This Information?

The data from the study can inform women with migraines and their physicians. Perhaps preventative heart disease measures should be considered. Rambarat suggests that maybe now migraines need to be regarded as a possible risk factor for future cardiovascular event.
Whether you suffer from migraines or not, it’s always a wise move to make heart-healthy choices. Even if you’re a young woman, it’s never too early to practice cardiovascular-disease prevention. Here are some suggestions:

-quit smoking; if you don’t smoke, please don’t start

-manage stress; practice what relaxes you (reading, swimming, dancing, yoga, cooking, etc.)

-eat lots of vegetables and fruits; avoid foods that lend to high cholesterol

-get rest; allow yourself eight hours per night

-avoid estrogen-based birth-control pills

Finding out what triggers your headaches is a great way to try and avoid getting them, if possible. Some possible triggers are: stress, neck or back injury, allergy (especially to MSG), and sugar substitutes. Check out Thrive for more updates on health and taking care of yourself and your family.