Harvard Women's Health Watch

Migraine linked with increased risk of heart disease in women

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About one-fifth of people in the United States have a migraine at some time in their life, and women have migraines three to four times more often than men. It's long been known that women with migraines have a higher risk of having a stroke. Now, a new study suggests that they have a higher risk of heart problems as well.

Researchers in Germany and the United States analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study. They found that among the 17,531 women who reported having migraines, the risk of chest pains, heart attack, having to undergo procedures to open blocked arteries, or dying of a heart attack was about 50% higher than that of women who had never had a migraine. As expected, women with migraine also had a 50% higher risk of having a stroke.