Migraine increases pregnancy stroke risk

March 11, 2009 at 1:03 PM
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 11 (UPI) -- Women with migraines are at an increased risk of stroke during pregnancy as well as heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Wake Forest University used a national database of more than 18 million hospital discharge records to identify 33,956 pregnancy-related discharges with a diagnosis of migraine from 2000-2003.

Women age 40 and older were 2.4 times more likely to have a diagnosis of migraines than women under age 20, and white women were more likely to have a diagnosis of migraines than any other race or ethnicity, the researchers say.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, says migraines during pregnancy were linked to a 15-fold increased risk of stroke. Migraines also tripled the risk of blood clots in the veins and doubled the risk of heart disease.

Migraine headache occurs in up to 26 percent of women of childbearing age and around one-third of women ages 35-39, the researchers say.

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