Migraine increases risk of heart disease

Women who suffer with migraine may have an increased risk of developing, and dying from, cardiovascular disease, a new study has found.

While the overall risk is small, the researchers believe that migraine should be considered an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Previous studies have found a link between migraine and stroke, however few studies have looked at a link with cardiovascular disease and mortality, so German and US researchers decided to investigate further.

They analysed data from a study which had included over 115,000 women aged between 25 and 42. None of the women had cardiovascular disease at the start of the study and they were monitored from 1989 to 2011.

Just over 15% of the women suffered with migraine, which is usually characterised by one-sided throbbing headaches that can last hours or even days.

Migraine is the most common neurological condition in the world, and the headaches can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, confusion and visual disturbances (known as aura).

The study found that when compared to women who did not have migraine, those with the condition had an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and this included an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and angina.

Furthermore, migraine was linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular mortality (death). This link was similar irrespective of the women's age, smoking status, blood pressure, use of oral contraceptives and use of hormone therapy following the menopause.

"These results further add to the evidence that migraine should be considered an important risk marker for cardiovascular disease, at least in women. Given the high prevalence of migraine in the general population, an urgent need exists to understand the biological processes involved and to provide preventative solutions for patients," the researchers said.

They added that they see no reason why the findings cannot be applied to men as well.

Details of these findings are published in the British Medical Journal.


[Posted: Fri 03/06/2016]

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