Migraines are linked to heart disease, according to a new study. Women who are prone to migraines face a greater risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that women who suffer from migraines faced a higher risk of having a heart attack, angina, chest pain, as well as undergo cardiovascular procedures, than women who did not suffer from migraines.
Migraine is the primary headache illness that affects about one-fifth of both female and male population of the US. The female population is three to four times more prone to develop migraines than men. Because of the significant number of individuals who suffer from this disorder, any link between these two diseases would have a major effect on public health.
The finding was the work of a team of US and German scientists, who analyzed data from approximately 115,000 women aged 25-42, who were enrolled in an ongoing study on nurses’ health. About 17,500 nurses were diagnosed with migraine when initially examined. An additional number of roughly 6,300 women newly reported the diagnosis during follow-ups.
After a 20-year time frame, women who had migraines were found to have a 50 percent increased risk of developing heart-related diseases. Researchers revealed that 678 women suffered a heart attack, while 651 women had a stroke; 223 died from cardiovascular problems. Up to 203 women had angina or had to get a heart-related procedure.
The results support the findings of previous studies which have also linked migraine with an increased risk of heart disease. Researchers say that this adds further evidence that migraines should be considered an important risk factor, at least in women.
Although there are other risk factors, such as smoking, hypertension, or high cholesterol, that influence the risk to a greater degree than migraines, the findings are cause for concern. Almost 25 percent of American women are known to suffer from migraines.
It is believed that migraines are linked to heart disease because they share similar underlying mechanisms. No clear answer can yet be provided. Researchers do acknowledge that the mere correlation does not imply causation. This means that more research is in order to determine if migraines can be considered a cause for heart diseases.
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