People with migraines may be at higher risk of heart attack or stroke, says study

A new study has pointed to increased risk of heart attack or stroke to people suffering from migraine. While previous studies have pointed to higher risks of heart problems and stroke among adults with migraine plus aura, the consistency of the findings was lower in people with migraines without aura - the group that accounts for about 80 per cent of migraine sufferers.

A study on 6,100 migraine patients found 4 per cent reported a history of heart attack while the rate was 2 per cent among the 5,243 people in the comparison group without migraine.

Further, 2 per cent of the migraine group had a history of stroke, versus 1.2 per cent in the comparison group.

Moreover, increased stroke risk was reported only in the migraine with aura group, with nearly 4 per cent reporting a history of stroke, compared with just over 1 per cent of migraine sufferers without aura symptoms.

People with migraine were found to have higher rates of increased blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes than those in the comparison group. However those rates failed to explain the link between migraine and heart problems and stroke. Researchers say the exact connection between cardiovascular disease and migraine remains unclear.

The possibility they offer is that some people may have an underlying susceptibility to both migraines and cardiovascular disease.