Bad migraines, link between migraines and heart valve disease?

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  • Full Question:

    I have bad migraine headaches all the time; nothing helps me. What I can do for it? What doctor must I see for this problem? I also have heart valve problems. Is there a link between migraines and heart valve disease? Scott.


    Full Answer:

    Dear Scott;


    Thank you for your questions. We'll take them separately and see if we can help.


    You mention that you have bad migraines all the time and that nothing helps. That's rough. Thankfully, treatment options for migraines have improved over the years and usually there are options that can help - you just need to find the right provider to help you find the right solution for you. Since we don't know all of the treatments you have tried in the past, we can direct you to the following links where you can find lists of medications used for migraine:

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    If your migraines are pretty frequent, you could benefit from a preventative medication, which is typically taken daily, whether you have a migraine or not, in order to limit the number of migraines you experience. It is also important to have an acute treatment, which is treatment you take when the migraine starts to try and stop or at least limit it.


    As far as the type of doctor to see, the most important thing to look for is a doctor who is interested in treating headache disorders and willing to work with you on your specific needs. Often, this can be a primary care provider (like a family doctor, internal medical doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant), or you may need to look for a headache and migraine specialist. If you need help locating a specialist, take a look at  Migraine and Headache Specialist Listings. Whatever you do, don't give up trying to find solutions, and don't give up the hope that you will find one.


    In regards to your heart valve question, we are not aware of any specific correlation between heart valve problems and migraines. There are some heart conditions which do interact with migraines, though. On rare occasions, patients who have coronary artery disease will develop headaches as the primary symptoms of cardiac ischemia (not enough blood flow getting to the heart muscle). People who have a patent foramen ovale (PFO) are more likely to have migraine with aura. However, despite a number of research studies looking into this, there isn't sufficient evidence yet to show that closing the PFO improve the migraines.

    Thanks for your question,
    David Watson, MD, and Teri Robert


    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialists and director of the Headache Center at West Virginia University. Je and Lead Health Guide Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Watson or more about Teri Robert.


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    Please note: We cannot diagnose, suggest specific treatment, or handle emergencies via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can't answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.


    We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.


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    Last updated August 14, 2014.


Published On: August 14, 2014