Migraine may double heart attack risk

Feb. 11, 2010 at 7:24 PM

NEW YORK, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers found migraine sufferers were twice as likely as others to have heart attacks.

The researchers at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University also found those with migraines -- pulsing or throbbing pain usually on one side of the head -- faced a greater risk for stroke than those without migraines. In addition, migraine sufferers were more likely to have key risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The researchers found a three-fold greater heart-attack risk in those whose migraines were accompanied by aura -- additional neurological symptoms such as flashing lights.

The study, published in Neurology, suggests migraine patients may not suffer from an isolated disorder and may need to be treated for cardiovascular risks.

"Migraine has been viewed as a painful condition that affects quality of life, but not as a threat to people's overall health," study senior author Dr. Richard B. Lipton said in a statement.

Lipton and colleagues asked 6,102 people with migraine and 5,243 people without migraine to complete questionnaires as part of The American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study -- a longitudinal, population-based study of U.S. headache sufferers.

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