Migraine, Stroke, and Good News

A recent study suggests that women with a certain type of migraine have less to worry about when it comes to stroke.

We’ve talked a lot about migraine and stroke cardiovascular diseases.  The general consensus at the moment is that migraine can increase your risk, but your risk is still very low (unless you have other risk factors as well).

So the link is something to be aware of as you try to decrease your overall risk, but it’s no reason to panic.  However, it is giving us clues into what migraine is and how it impacts overall health.

But we’re still a long way from understanding the connection, a fact that was highlighted once again in a large study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute in the USA.

The Women’s Health Study involved 27,852 women, and it once again found a link between migraine and stroke.  But this connection was a little different than the ones we’ve heard before.

This particular connection had to do with women who experience migraine attacks with aura – typically seeing flashing lights or zig zags before the pain stage of the attack.  We know that these women in particular seem to have a higher risk of ischemic stroke.  But it also seems that their strokes are less severe.

According to this study, women with migraine with aura were twice as likely to have no significant disability after a stoke.

The study’s principal author, Dr. Tobias Kurth, is speculating that there’s a mechanism in the blood vessels that may explain the connection.  But as we’re studying the underlying biology of migraine and stroke, he points out:

The message from this study should be reassuring for migraineurs.  It is important for women who have migraine with aura to know that their risk of stroke is considerably low and there is high likelihood of a migraine-associated stroke being mild.

This finding won’t likely change the life of many migraineurs.  And there are likely to be more findings from this study as researchers analyze the results.  However, each unique finding tells us a little more about what migraine is actually doing to the body.

Read more on the study here: Migraine and Functional Outcome From Ischemic Cerebral Events in Women

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2 comments… add one
  • Emily Dec 20, 2010

    As always, informative and interesting!!! Thanks for the post!

  • James Dec 23, 2010

    Thanks, Emily! 🙂

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