While many are aware that migraines are associated with an elevated risk for strokes, it wasn’t until recently that scientists at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin discovered a correlation between cardiovascular disease and migraines, specifically in women. This is scary news, considering that one in five women suffer from migraines.
The study that unveiled these results was led by Prof. Tobias Kurth who is Head of the Institute of Public Health. The researchers monitored a sample of female nurses, aged 25-42, over a period of more than 20 years. Disturbingly, researchers found that women who had migraines were 50% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than women who didn’t report migraines. 678 of the women with migraines had heart attacks, while 223 experienced cardiovascular-related deaths. Professor Kurth urges women to consider migraines as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Researchers aren’t quite sure why this correlation is so high, but speculate that women who have migraines and who have cardiovascular disease may have similar blood vessels, though that has yet to be substantiated.
While this information may have you at the edge of your seat, there are still some missing pieces. Since the sample was only that of nurses, perhaps there is something common about their jobs which make them more likely to experience both maladies. Such a factor could be that of stress. Alternately, scientists are not yet sure of what this means for male migraine sufferers.
No matter the cause, Professor Kurth strongly concludes more research is urgently needed to understand the correlation between migraines and cardiovascular disease, in order to help patients avoid possible cardiovascular issue.
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