Migraine with Aura: Higher heart attack risk than smoking and diabetes?

According to recent research, women who have migraine with aura are at an increased risk for “cardiovascular events”.

This study was actually an investigation into the Women’s Health Study, a large study, which we’ve talked about before, which collected all kinds of information about thousands of women over 15 years.

What were the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular events (CV), such as heart attack and stroke?

  1. High Blood Pressure
  2. Migraine with Aura
  3. Diabetes
  4. Family History of Heart Attack
  5. Current Smoking
  6. Obesity

That’s right, migraine with aura came in as the #2 risk factor for women.

Cardiovascular event risk and migraine

There’s no doubt that this study will increase interest in the study of migraine and heart problems.  The connection between the two is not yet understood, although theories are beginning to emerge.

But the link is not new.  We’ve known for some time that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular problems in migraineurs, and not just women who have migraine with aura (for example the same researcher, Dr. Tobias Kurth, reported that men with migraine seem to have an increased risk of heart attack).

Some good news has also come from the Women’s Health Study – for example, women with migraine with aura are less likely to be disabled after stroke.

Even with migraine, your risk is probably low unless it’s combined with other factors above.  Still, this is a reminder that migraine can be dangerous, and it does need to be treated.  It should also raise awareness for migraineurs and their doctors that they should be cautious of other risk factors, including medications that may increase their risk.

For more, read Migraine and Heart Disease: 7 Critical Things to Know Now.

For more on the study:  Migraine with aura confers high CV risk in women

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10 comments… add one
  • Amy Roark Flowers Feb 15, 2013


  • Dorota Viktoria Feb 15, 2013

    :/ damn…

  • thank God I dont get an aura

  • Anna Louise Stewart Feb 15, 2013

    Jeez!! Wish I hadn’t read that!

  • Aurora Feb 23, 2013

    Ouch! Why me?

  • cindy slinkard Mar 15, 2013

    It always said nothing bad related to health now this!

  • AngelinaB Aug 11, 2013

    Well I’m screwed… Have had severe constant auras for the past 4 years and has lost me my independence and general migraine attack auras for the previous 10+years :(… There’s the rubs hey.

  • Terri Aug 17, 2013

    I am 54 years old now. Got my first migraine at 16. Probably had many Auras but didn’t recognize them until I was in the Army. Mostly consisted of the vertical lines, and “blind spots”. Won’t bore you with 40+ years of medicine, but finally found a fantastic neurologist. We were “managing” these with Midrin, Triptans, and various other prescription drugs, until I had a stroke 4 months ago. That really sucked. Now I am “forbidden” to take any of my previous meds, and basically have to drug myself to sleep to find any relief. Luckily my Neuro did not give up, she has started me on Botox injections!! Got my first dose yesterday. I pray it helps. Long process to get accepted, hoping it’s worth it. Have one very important question to all migraine sufferers, Do any of you ever have ANY type of mouth pain before a migraine? Even before auras? Ever so slight, but enough to be bothersome? I believe its connected but Doctors keep telling me I am crazy, Would love to hear I’m not. Thanks for listening!

  • Pasty Oct 21, 2014

    Yes I get excruciating teeth pain and so does my girlfriend…your not crazy! I also get tremendous ear pain. My friend gets some relief from Botox for her mouth pain. Not so much for me…Hope this helps a bit.

  • Teri M. Armstrong Mar 23, 2017

    What’s an ”aura” ? Ive had migraines all my life.My Grandmother had them.My daughters have them. Thnx,SORRY to all those who suffer servere migraines…! I literally feel your pain.

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