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Migraine and Stroke Risk Linked Again

Feb
22

Date: February 22nd, 2017

Migraine Treatment Options

As much as the cause of this connection is yet to be established, Dr. Cecil Rambarat (the study lead author) said that health care providers are better placed if they appreciate the link.

Dr. Rambarat, a resident physician at the University of Florida Shands Hospital in Gainesville, said that being aware of the link is important since migraine has for long been ignored as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

He said that it is about time the providers included migraine headaches as having possibly led to cardiovascular disease in the women.

Previous Studies link migraines to stroke

Studies done in the past have associated migraines >>> more so the type called migraine with aura >>> to stroke. It is estimated that for every four migraine patients, one suffers from migraine with aura. The estimates are provided by Migraine Research Foundation. For such people, vision changes are usually accompanied with severe headaches. Such changes could be blurry vision, too bright lights or seeing zigzag or squiggly lines.

How the study was done

This study went back to a period between 1996 and 1999 in which it studied more than 900 United States women who had depicted heart disease signs. Most of these women – 80% – were white while the average age was 58.

They were subjected to a 6-year follow-up of which 18 percent of them with a history in migraine headaches experienced a stroke or heart attack. This was contrasted to 17 percent who did not experience migraines.

Rambarat said that the difference was more pronounced when they made adjustments to the data to include other risk factors. The finding was that migraine patients stood a close to double risk of suffering from cardiac problems compared to those without migraines. The risk was even much worse when it came to stroke, going past double.

Theories explaining the condition

As much as this study does not reveal the cause-and-effect link existent in between the strokes and migraines, some theories have been developed to explain the matter.

“Since both affect the brain, it’s easier when you try to draw the link between migraine and stroke,” said Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, a director of the Headache Research and Treatment Center at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences in Ohio.

But Tietjen went on to explain that chances are the problem may not only be in the brain blood vessels alone.

Higher levels of blood clotting, swelling and clotting are described as having played a role in migraines and cardiac problems. When the arteries get blocked, the pressure that develops in them becomes enormous, contributing to heart disease. Although this doesn’t seem as if it is connected to the migraines, she added.

Tietjen advised the women with the migraines not to panic because the cardiac risk is still minimal. “It’s not zero, and it’s not a huge number,” she said.

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