Migraines and stroke: How to tell the Difference

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If you get chronic migraines with aura, then your chances of suffering symptoms of both migraines and stroke are greater than average- many studies correlate migraine symptoms such as disorientation, muscular feebleness, and visual disturbances with increased risk for stroke. Here are some tips for distinguishing symptoms of migraines and stroke.

Migraines and stroke: How to tell the difference- Migravent

Understanding migraines and stroke

We all dread any mention of the word, but many don’t understand what occurs during a stroke, and what risk factors increase your odds for having one. Similarly, many myths and misconceptions abound regarding symptoms of migraines.

First of all, not all stroke victims are senior citizens- a recent study revealed that approximately half of the people who suffer stroke are under the age of 65, and that roughly a quarter weren’t even 55 years of age. For migraines, most sufferers are middle-aged, although many children also experience pediatric migraines.

Ischemic stroke occurs because of a blocked artery in the brain that causes depletion of vital nutrients and oxygen, resulting in brain malfunction. With hemorrhagic stroke, impaired ability to see, walk, or talk clearly is caused by a burst blood vessel in the brain.

Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes migraines, but they attribute them to a neurological disorder in the brain that causes excruciating headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

Risk factors for migraines and stroke

Risk factors for suffering from stroke include:

  • Experiencing auras, which are stroke-like symptoms with migraines that occur in a significant number of migraine sufferers.
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure

Risk factors for migraines are not as clear. Most migraine sufferers are women- three to one, females are a higher risk category than males for migraine headaches.

Killer Migraines Might be Fatal after All- Mortality Rates among Migraine Sufferers

What are the symptoms of stroke?

Symptoms of migraines and stroke are very similar- to an onlooker, somebody having a severe migraine attack with aura may seem to be suffering from stroke. If you regularly get migraines with aura, then it’s important to be able to recognize some telltale signs of stroke, and tell the difference in time to get help.

Stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden numbness or feebleness on one side of the body, occurring in the face, arms, torso, or legs.
  • Intense disorientation
  • Difficulty speaking clearly, slurring words
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Trouble walking
  • Sudden strong headache

How to tell the difference

If you suspect you are having a stroke, don’t hesitate to call 911 emergency services.

Here are some helpful clues to help you understand some key differences between symptoms of migraines and stroke.

  • Stoke occurs suddenly- one second you’re fine, and the next, you experience a rush of debilitating symptoms. With migraine aura, symptoms occur more gradually. Also, you often have a warning, during the prodrome phase, where you may experience feelings of unusual exhilaration, food cravings, or hallucinatory scents.
  • With stroke, vision problems include temporary loss of vision in one or both eyes, but no other types of visual impairments. With migraines, you may suffer double-vision, blurry vision, empty voids, peripheral blind spots, or bright, shifting light patterns.

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Like this? Read more:

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Migraines and PFO: Will Closing a Hole in my Heart Cure Migraines?


Stroke: 5 Warning Signs You Must Know

Stroke and migraine

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