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Heart Health

Stroke and migraine: What's the link?

March 1, 2014

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Photo: Thinkstock

People who have frequent migraines will quickly tell you that the pain can be excruciating. And for some sufferers, these headaches may also herald an increased vulnerability to small blood vessel damage in the brain and resulting strokes.

Approximately one in six adults in the United States reports having migraines. About a third of these people experience visual disturbances, known as aura, that precede the headache. While everyone with a history of migraines has a slightly elevated stroke risk, the likelihood double or triples in people with aura.

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