If you suffer from chronic migraines, cardiovascular disease may also be in the horizon, according to current research from scientists who studied the heart attack rate of migraine patients, compared to people who don’t get migraine headaches. Here’s the latest information on migraines and cardiovascular disease risks.
Thirty years ago, most people thought that migraine attacks were nothing more than excruciating headaches that lasted longer than common stress headaches.
Today, through numerous scientific studies, we know that migraines are actually a neurological disorder that not only produces debilitating pain; it also impairs cardiovascular health, increasing the risk for heart attack, stroke, and hypertension for many patients of migraines.
And where past studies have exclusively targeted cardiovascular illness among patients of migraines with aura (migraines which cause stroke-like symptoms), latest research also includes migraines without aura as a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Study links migraines and cardiovascular disease
According to scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, migraine patients are twice as likely to experience heart attacks as non-migraineurs.
Moreover, patients who get migraines with aura are three times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than people who don’t get chronic headaches.
The study, which was published in 2010 by Neurology, found increased risk for stroke, heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol among migraine patient participants.
When treating migraines, most headache specialists fail to address prospective cardiovascular disease in their patients.
(Also read: Migraine Headaches and Then Some…Migraine Comorbidities)
Migraines, with or without aura
Previous studies have found a noticeable cardiovascular health risk among migraine with aura patients over the age of 45.
Now, according to the Einstein College study, scientists see a significantly increased risk for heart disease among all migraine patients, regardless of the appearance of aura symptoms. Cardiovascular disease symptoms studied include heart attack, high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.
Where migraine patients, as a whole, are twice more likely to suffer from heart attacks or strokes than people who don’t suffer from chronic headaches, the risk for migraine with aura patients is three times higher.
Also, age doesn’t seem to be a factor, as the chances of having a stroke or heart attack are significantly higher for migraine patients of all ages, even as early as eighteen years of age.
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