Women over the age of 45 who get migraines are candidates for stroke
According to a study, middle-aged women who suffer from chronic migraines with “aura” are twice as likely to experience a stroke than women of that age who do not get migraine headaches.
Migraines with aura are excruciatingly painful throbbing headaches with are preceded by bright flickering spots of light (aura) and, sometimes, hallucinations. Other symptoms of migraines with aura include nausea, incoherent speech, blind spots, tingling or numbness and lethargy. Over a third of women who get chronic migraine headaches also experience auras. Also read: Migraines with Aura may Signal Birth Defect in Heart
Research links migraines with stroke
The Women’s Health Study is one of many research projects which have found a high correlation between stroke risks and migraine headaches which are accompanied by neurological symptoms, as with the auras. Previous studies have indicated that women are 3-4 times more likely so get migraines than men, and are significantly more likely to become disabled following a stroke than male stroke patients.
- For this study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School analyzed 27,798 health records pertaining to females over the age of 45.
- The results of the study, led by Dr. Tobias Kurth, were published in the Neurology journal.
- Out of all the women included in this study, 3,568 were migraine patients.
- About 5 percent of the female migraine sufferers also experienced auras at least once every week.
- During the 12-year study, researchers found that women who were able to predict an oncoming headache because of characteristic flashing auras were 4 times more likely to suffer a stroke than female non-migraineurs.
- Out of the group of women with chronic migraines, the headache sufferers who experienced auras less than once per month (75% of migraineurs) were twice as likely than female non-migraineurs to have a heart attack or undergo heart surgery.
- Want more info? Read Migraine with Aura Causes Heart Disease in Women.
Treatment for migraines
Taking good care of your body will go a long way towards preventing the next migraine attack. Some good tips for staving off migraine headache symptoms are:
- Reduce the stress in your life. Whether you choose yoga, meditation, tai chi or aromatherapy, just make sure it’s something you enjoy that provides a good, healthy outlet for your stress. Also read: Relieve Your Headaches With Yoga: Try These Moves!
- Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, which can trigger headaches. Also read: 11 Headache Triggers you Never Thought Of
- Consult in your doctor about possible drug interactions before taking any pain relievers. Also read: New Study Warns against Taking these Painkillers with Antidepressants
- Visit an allergist; you might be overly sensitive to certain food triggers. Is Gluten Sensitivity Giving You a Headache?
- Keep a headache diary; it will help you keep track of your emotions, eating habits, and any other factors which might help you identify your headache triggers. Also read: 20 iPad Apps for Migraine Sufferers