Migraine frequency linked with women's risk of cardiovascular disease

April 17, 2008

New research shows women who have weekly migraine are significantly more likely to have a stroke than those with fewer migraines or no migraine at all, but those with lower migraine frequency may face increased risk of heart attacks. The research will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12–19, 2008.

The Women’s Health Study involved 27,798 women health professionals in the United States who were 45 and older. The women did not have cerebrovascular disease at the beginning of the study and were followed for an average of 12 years. During that time, 706 cerebrovascular events, 305 heart attacks, and 310 ischemic strokes occurred.

Of the 3,568 women with migraine at the start of the study, 65 percent reported migraine less than once a month, 30 percent reported one migraine a month and five percent reported at least weekly migraine.

Compared to women without migraine, the study found women who had at least weekly migraines were three times more likely to have a stroke, but those with a migraine frequency of less than monthly were one-and-halftimes more likely to have a heart attack.

“Our findings suggest that migraine frequency may be an indicator for increased risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly ischemic stroke,” said study author Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Future studies are needed to address whether migraine prevention reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Overall, the study found a mixed association between migraine and major cerebrovascular disease suggesting increased risk for women with high and low migraine frequency. “Our results may indicate that the mechanisms by which migraine associates with specific cardiovascular events may differ,” said Kurth. “More research is needed to determine the reasons for these results.”

Kurth says while migraine has previously been found to increase risk of vascular problems, before now there was little science on the association between migraine frequency and cardiovascular disease.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: Gene may put women with migraine at increased risk of heart disease and stroke

Related Stories

Migraine raises risk of most common form of stroke

November 16, 2009

Pooling results from 21 studies, involving 622,381 men and women, researchers at Johns Hopkins have affirmed that migraine headaches are associated with more than twofold higher chances of the most common kind of stroke: ...

Migraine increases risk of severe skin sensitivity and pain

April 21, 2008

People with migraine are more likely to experience exacerbated skin sensitivity or pain after non-painful daily activities such as rubbing one’s head, combing one’s hair and wearing necklaces or earrings, compared to ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.