Study: Migraines in women increase risk of cardiovascular disease


According to a new study, women suffering from migraines are at an increased risk of mortality from heart diseases than women who do not have migraine. A migraine is a severe headache often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

The findings of the study showed that women who reported a migraine had a greater risk for major cardiovascular disease including heart attacks, strokes and angina — a chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. In addition, migraine was also associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular mortality.

This association was similar across subgroups of women, including by age, smoking status, hypertension, post-menopausal hormone therapy and oral contraceptive use. “These results of the study further add to the evidence that a migraine should be considered an important risk marker for cardiovascular disease, at least in women,” said Tobias Kurth from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US. For the study — published in The BMJ — the team of the researchers evaluated associations between a migraine, cardiovascular disease and mortality. They analysed 115,541 women aged between 25-42 years from 1989-2011. In the study, overall, 17,531 (15.2 per cent) women reported a migraine. Over the 20 years of follow-up, 1,329 total cardiovascular disease events occurred and 223 women died due to cardiovascular disease. “It’s time to add migraine to the list of early life medical conditions that are markers for later life cardiovascular risk,” added Rebecca Burch from Harvard Medical School.

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