An alarming study reveals women that suffer from migraines are more prone to this type of cardiovascular disease.
Women suffering from migraines may be at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, a new study has shown. According to a report from Live Science, researchers showed that women who have migraines faced a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack and angina, or chest pain. Additionally, women who suffered from migraines were shown to undergo cardiovascular procedures like coronary artery bypass grafting at a higher rate than those who did not suffer from migraines.
The study, published in the journal The BMJ, also revealed that women with migraines faced a higher risk of dying from heart-related issues. According to Dr. Rebecca Burch, a researcher in Harvard Medical School’s neurology department, “This study provides really good quality evidence that migraine in women is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.” Dr. Burch authored an accompanying editorial, but was not involved with the research.
While other risk factors like smoking, hypertension and cholesterol all influence cardiovascular risk to a higher degree than the link to migraines, the study still offers cause for concern due to the fact that nearly 25 percent of American women suffer from migraines.
The study offers new evidence linking migraines to a number of cardiovascular issues, including strokes. Scientists examined data from over 115,000 nurses enrolled in an ongoing study called the Nurses’ Health Study II. Roughly 17,500 of the nurses in the study reported suffering from migraines.
After a 20-year time frame, researchers were able to show that the women who suffered from migraines were nearly 50 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular problems than women who had never had a migraine. 678 women suffered from a heart attack, 651 had a stroke, and 203 had angina or needed a heart-related procedure. The study also showed 223 of the women in the sample died from cardiovascular problems.
So why do migraines seem to influence cardiovascular health in women? Researchers believe that migraines and cardiovascular disease share similar underlying mechanisms, though it isn’t clear exactly what is causing the link. Scientists acknowledge that a correlation does not imply a causation, and plan to research the link between migraines and heart disease further in the future.
A press release from BMJ describing the details of the study can be found here.