Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Migraine and heart disease

Heart Beat

Migraine and heart disease

A connection between migraine and stroke has been suggested for some time. Now researchers are making a case that migraine with aura doubles the risk of having chest pain (angina), a heart attack, or dying of cardiovascular disease in women. Between 20% and 30% of migraine sufferers experience aura "" signs like seeing flashing lights or smelling nonexistent smells that foreshadow the onset of a migraine headache.

A doubling of risk seems like a lot, but it isn't as bad as it sounds. It means upping the ante from 2 major cardiovascular events per 1,000 women each year to about 4 per 1,000. Migraine without aura isn't linked with heart disease, according to the report in the July 19, 2006, Journal of the American Medical Association.

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