Migraine and Cardiovascular Disease Risks - Dangerous?

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert

Findings of a study published in Neurology®, the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology add to previous findings that Migraine disease is tied to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Study

Study objective:

"Although the relationship between migraine and cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been studied, several questions remain unanswered. Herein we contrast the rate of diagnosed CVD as well as of risk factors for CVD in individuals with migraine with and without aura (MWA and MWOA) and in controls."1

Study methods:

  • Participants were drawn from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP).*
  • Study included 6,102 Migrainuers and a control group of 5,243 participants without Migraine.
  • Migraine diagnosis was assigned using a validated questionnaire mailed to participants.
  • Questionnaire also also obtained details on treatment, comorbidities, and other variables.
  • CVD events were self-reported.

* As part of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study, 120,000 U.S. households representative of the U.S. population have been followed for 5 years. Accordingly, we took advantage of the accurate characterization of headaches in the AMPP cohort, and resurveyed participants using the same well-validated CVD instruments from the Women’s Health Study,7 in order to 1) profile cardiovascular risk factors for CVD in migraineurs and controls; 2) ascertain cardiovascular events in individuals with migraine vs controls; and 3) assess the relationship of MWA and MWOA and CVD in both men and women across a broad range of ages."1

Study results:

  • Migraine overall and MWA were associated with myocardial infarction (heart attack),
    stroke, and claudication (pain in the calf, thigh or hip muscle that occurs after walking)
  • MWOA was associated with myocardial infarction and claudication.
  • Participants with Migraine were more likely than control participants to have:
    • diabetes (12.6% vs. 9.4%)
    • hypertension (33.1% vs. 27.5%)
    • high cholesterol (32.7% vs. 25.6%)
    • Risk was higher in MWA, but remained elevated in MWOA
  • Migraine was significantly associated with:
    • myocardial infarction: occurred in 4.1% of Migraine group, 1.9% of control group
    • strokes: occurred in 2.1% of Migraine group, 1.2% of the control group
    • claudication: occurred in 2.9% of Migraine group, 2.57% of control group
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