Around the world, between 14 and 15 percent of the population
suffers from migraines.
People who suffer from migraine are more likely to develop a
number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
Both men and women who experience migraine are at an increased
risk of having an ischemic stroke, according to Danish researchers,
but only women may also be at an elevated risk of having a heart
attack or a hemorrhagic stroke.
Between 14 and 15% of people worldwide experience migraine, a
disorder that results in recurrent headaches and other serious
People who suffer from migraines are more susceptible to a number
of other conditions, such as:
depressionTrusted Source fibromyalgiaTrusted Source
epilepsyIrritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Reliable SourceHaving
trouble hearing is a Trusted Sourceasthma trusted sourcedifficulty
sleeping, trusted sourceReliable Source
Additionally, prior research demonstrates that those who suffer from
migraines are also at a higher risk.reputable source for heart disease
and other cardiovascular diseasesstroke, reputable sourceHigh blood
pressure, a reliable source, andReliable Source.
According to recent research from Aarhus University in Denmark,
only women may also be at an elevated risk of suffering a heart
attack or hemorrhagic stroke despite the fact that both men and
women who suffer from migraine headaches are at an increased risk
of having an ischemic stroke.
Hemorrhagic versus ischemic stroke
When the brain's oxygen supply is cut off due to something stopping
blood flow there, a stroke happens.
Three primary stroke types include:
ischemic stroke is the most prevalent kind.Trusted Source a stroke
happens when blood flow to the brain is restricted by arteries, such
as those that are clogged with cholesterol or blood clots. A blood
vessel in the brain bursts in a hemorrhagic stroke, which results in
the pressure of the escaping blood killing nearby brain cells.
In a transient ischemic attack, blood flow to the brain temporarily
stops before returning to normal on its own.
Similar signs and symptoms of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes
disorientation numbness or weakness in the arms, legs, or face,
particularly if it affects only one side of the body
speech or hearing difficulties vision problems
loss of coordination or balance
These signs and symptoms may appear suddenly or a few days
before to the stroke.
A stroke is an urgent medical matter. If someone notices any
indications of a strokeThey should dial 911 right away to request
medical aid, according to a reliable source.
The sooner a person obtains medical care, the better their prognosis,
even though a stroke can be treatedTrusted Source.
What's the connection between a migraine and a stroke?
Although there have been studies examining the effect of migraine
on the risk of ischemic stroke, they suggest that the impact mainly or
possibly exclusively existed among young women and not young
men, according to Dr. Cecilia Hvitfeldt Fuglsang, a registrar in the
Department of Clinical Medicine at the Department of Clinical
Epidemiology at Aarhus University and a lead author of the study.
"We wanted to see whether our findings would be the same and
whether this sex difference also existed for risk of hemorrhagic
stroke and heart attack," Dr. Fuglsang said in a statement to Medical
Dr. Fuglsang and her team examined medical records from Danes
aged 18 to 60 that had been gathered from 1996 to 2018 in order to
perform this study. Based on their prescription medicine records,
scientists were able to identify both men and women who suffered
from migraine headaches.
The risk of heart attack, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke
before the age of 60 was then compared to the risk that those
without migraines in the general population have.
Following study, researchers discovered that ischemic stroke risk was
elevated in both men and women with migraine.
However, the study found that compared to men with migraine and
the general population, women with migraine headaches have a
somewhat greater risk of heart attack and hemorrhagic stroke.
Dr. Fuglsang stated, "I anticipated that we would find an association
between migraine and these events, but I wasn't sure if the
association was specific to women."
For migraine sufferers, the overall risk of stroke is modest.
Dr. Fuglsang advised us to keep in mind that the overall risks are
small for migraine-prone women who might be worried about these
In light of this, she added, "I would advise that doctors should be
aware of the relationship between migraine and cardiovascular risk –
for both men and women. "It's unclear how we might change this
risk. The primary action that may be taken right now is to maximize
the treatment of any additional cardiovascular risk factors, such as
supporting smoking cessation.
The next stage in this research, according to Dr. Fuglsang, is to
examine the prognosis for migraine sufferers who experience one of
She continued, "It would also be intriguing to investigate how we
might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among persons with
migraine." However, I wouldn't be able to do this with the data and
research setup I have at the moment.
reducing the risk of stroke
Dr. José Morales, a vascular neurosurgeon and neurointerventional
surgeon at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in California, was the
subject of a discussion with MNT about this study.
According to Morales, who has been following studies in this field,
"the prior studies showing that an association between females and
ischemic stroke is somewhat an established finding and generally
accepted among neurologists and vascular neurologistsTrusted
Source who have been following studies in this field."
"You're constantly attempting to account for these confounding
biases that can develop because of this disproportionate incidence
among various genders as you collect data on population-based
registries. It's intriguing to discover that the risk may not be as
gender-specific as previously thought. And given the hypothesized
underlying causes for stroke and migraine sufferers with aura, I
believe it makes sense. This includes vasospasm and
hypercoagulability, among other vascular etiological factors, which
explain why migraine may raise the risk of stroke.
— Vascular surgeon and neurologist Dr. José Morales
Morales advised those who might be worried about their stroke risk
to acquire additional data regarding their risk.
"I wouldn't necessarily use (the study) as an opportunity to panic as
much as just to make sure that you're looped in with the right
doctors and that you've got a lot of these other cardiovascular and
cerebrovascular risks well controlled because they do sort of feed
into each other," he advised.