Are Migraines Linked to Heart Problems in Women?

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Migraines can be debilitating. Along with severe headache pain, they can also include nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to noise and light and can last for hours or days.

Women are three to four times more likely to develop migraines than are men, and new research is suggesting that there may be a link between migraines and cardiovascular disease in women.

Study Finds Connection between Migraines and Heart Disease

Researchers analyzed data from a study that followed over 17,000 women who suffered from migraines and found that they had a 50 percent greater risk for heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease than women who didn’t get migraines. This is the first study to indicate migraines as a risk factor for heart disease in women, and scientists are trying to determine why.

More studies will need to be conducted in order to understand the mechanisms behind this connection. However, female migraine sufferers don’t need to wait for more data in order to take necessary precautions.

By monitoring their heart disease risk factors, women with migraines can help to keep themselves from developing atherosclerosis or having a heart attack.

How to Protect Against Heart Disease

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can all increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. While all women should pay attention to their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels and BMI, those who suffer from migraines should be particularly vigilant about keeping these numbers in the safe and healthy range. This may mean working closely with a cardiologist or other specialist to help prevent against heart disease.

A healthy lifestyle also plays an important role in reducing heart disease risk. Learning how to reduce stress, regular exercise, avoiding smoking and a healthy diet can all contribute to a healthy heart and can ward against cardiovascular disease.