Women who endure migraines that include auras have an increased danger of developing heart disease, according to a recent study. The findings suggest that the risk of heart problems was greater for women who have aura migraines than those without auras.
Approximately 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience some form of aura preceding the painful event. A migraine aura is described as a perpetual disturbance in which the person may see strange lights, have confusing thoughts, or smell strange odors. The effects most often signals the onset of a migraine and may continue throughout the attack.
An article by Fox News reports that the Women’s Health Study was conducted over a 15 year period and included the participation of 27,860 females. The data was analyzed to determine various risk factors contributing to cardiovascular events.
The study, presented this week during the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting, confirmed the link between aura migraines and increased risk of heart attack. These types of migraines have also been known to increase the possibility of stroke.
Study author Dr. Tobias Kurth, of INSERM, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, spoke of the findings:
“After high blood pressure, migraine with aura was the second strongest single contributor to risk of heart attacks and strokes. It came ahead of diabetes, current smoking, obesity, and family history of early heart disease.”
Science Daily reports that a second study revealed at the same conference also points to a link between migraines with aura and heart complications. This study suggests that aura sufferers who use hormonal contraception have an increased risk of blood clot occurrence. The risks grew even higher for women using newer versions of hormonal birth control.
The study was conducted by researchers at Bringham and Women’s Falkner Hospital in Boston and included 145,304 female subjects. Findings concluded that women with aura associated migraines had a higher development of blood clot issues such as deep vein thrombosis.
The study’s lead author and member of the American Academy of Neurology, Shivang Joshi, MD, MPH, RPh of Brigham and Women’s Falkner Hospital, commented on the results:
“Women who have migraine with aura should be sure to include this information in their medical history and talk to their doctors about the possible higher risks of newer contraceptives, given their condition.”
There has not yet been a definitive cause identified as to why migraines with aura may be linked to heart disease in women.