Cholesterol and Headache

Cholesterol and Headache

Can high cholesterol cause headaches?

Answer:  High cholesterol is not likely to give you a headache, even if you have some atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

However, causes of high cholesterol could also lead to headache:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet

People with headache and migraine often have higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Migraine symptoms can mimic stroke symptoms!

Statin drugs (to lower cholesterol in high risk patients) are being studied as a migraine treatment.  However, in some patients, statin drugs actually trigger headache attacks.

Bottom Line:  When it comes to headache, worry less about high cholesterol itself and more about lifestyle and medication choices.

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3 comments… add one
  • Wendy Dec 2, 2013

    I thought it was just me with this issue, and I kept telling my Primary Care Physician that every time he tried to put me on a statin drug for my high cholesterol, it increased the frequency and severity of my migraine headaches. I was unable to continue taking them (tried several different ones) and now I just try to watch my diet, etc. I will certainly mention this article to him at my next visit. Thanks for the information!

  • I H Patterson Nov 15, 2015

    Cluster headaches affect 1 per 1,000 in the population, mostly between 20 to 50 years of age. Late onset CH is rare, and statin use less than 50 years old is not so common. Liver function anomalies caused by statins occur in about 1 percent of statin takers.
    Taking these probabilities together, CH cluster periods caused by the statin created liver misfuntions should have an occurrence of about one per million of population.
    Just my luck to be one in a million!
    Retired medical physics consultant.

  • Tami Jones Jan 26, 2017

    I am 55 years old. I have just been diagnosed with cluster headaches. When I stopped my statin medicine the headaches stopped for about 2 weeks.

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