A study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University claim that migraine sufferers are more likely to have heart attacks. It has been published in the February 10 online issue of Neurology.
The study also found that migraine sufferers face increased risk for stroke and were more likely to have key risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
"Migraine has been viewed as a painful condition that affects quality of life, but not as a threat to people's overall health," said lead investigator Richard B. Lipton, M.D., senior author of the study and professor and vice chair in The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein. He also directs the Headache Center at Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein.
Dr. Lipton added, "Our study suggests that migraine is not an isolated disorder and that, when caring for people with migraine, we should also be attentive to detecting and treating their cardiovascular risk factors."
There are two major forms, migraine without aura and migraine with aura. Both forms involve pulsing or throbbing pain, pain on one side of the head, nausea or vomiting, or sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine with aura has additional neurological symptoms including flashing lights, zig-zag lines, or a graying out of vision. Migraine is most common between the ages of 25 and 55; women are affected three times more frequently than men.
In the study, the researchers analyzed data on 6,102 people with migraine and 5,243 people without migraine.