Attention: If You Suffer From Migraines You May Be More At Risk Of Stroke


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Written by: Justin Cowart

Did you know that people who continually suffer from migraine headaches with auras may be at risk of suffering from one of the most common types of stroke?

You are likely aware that smoking brings about all kinds of negative health issues, but did you know that people who smoke triple their risk of stroke? People who combine smoking and birth control pills are as much as seven times more likely to suffer from strokes.

In recent studies it was found that migraine headaches also increase your risk of arterial claudication (which is leg pain due to poor circulation) and heart attacks.

Numerous individual studies and meta-analyses have been able to demonstrate that people who have migraines with aura are at a much higher risk for ischemic stroke. To cite these and other studies, José Biller and Michael Star, MD, who are neurologists at the Loyola University Medical Center, describe the different associations between migraine and stroke in a chapter in a new article called “Headache and Migraine Biology and Management.”

One of the most common types of strokes, at 85%, are ischemic, which means that they are generally caused by blood clots within the brain. Migraine with aura is a type of migraine headache that is preceded by an aura, which means bright spots, flashes of light, tingling in the face or hands and blind spots.

The recent studies that were conducted provided evidence that there may actually be a link between hemorrhagic strokes and migraines, which are generally caused by bleeding in the brain.

Dr. Biller and Star write that,

“The biology underlying the relationship between migraine and stroke is poorly defined.”

The researchers have proposed several different explanations for the stroke-migraine association:

  • Migraine sufferers are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which includes high levels of c-reactive protein and low levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Medications meant to treat migraines may actually increase the risk of stroke.
  • A type of phenomenon that tends to occur during migraine aura, which is called cortical depression, might actually be triggering an ischemic stroke. Cortical spreading depression is a slowly propagating wave of depolarization, followed by the depression of brain activity that occurs during a migraine aura. It also includes different changes in vascular and neural function.

Dr. Biller and Star go on saying,

“Taking all of these possible explanations into account, the research may point to stroke and migraine sharing a reciprocal causal relationship. There is a significant amount of research attempting to further elucidate this multifaceted relationship.”

It’s wondrous to see our modern society make such leaps and bounds in the field of medicine. This new data that the researchers were able to find about migraines can potentially help us to diminish the amount of people who suffer from strokes.

We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about this topic in the comments below!


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Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
Justin Cowart


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