Reports coming out of the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2005 today provide more clues about the link between migraine and stroke. Past studies have shown a link between migraine with aura and stroke. But some migraineurs have severe symptoms, such as vision loss. The study showed that women with visual aura such as seeing spots and lines had a 25% increased risk of stroke, while those with vision loss due to migraine had a 70% increased risk. Researchers believe that the vision loss may have more of an impact on the brain than the less severe aura.
Another study investigated the risk of stroke (caused by low oxygen levels) in patients from 16 to 44. The study found that migraineurs had 2.7 times the risk of stroke, and if they also had high blood pressure, the risk sky-rocketed. The study carefully ruled out factors such as smoking and contraceptive use.
These studies are very important, because they give us little glimpses into what’s really going on in the brain during migraine. They also remind us to watch our risk of stroke from other factors if we’re migraineurs.