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Migraine Linked to Increased Heart Attack Risk
Date:2/10/2010

did not account for the increased migraine-associated risk, Lipton noted. "The risk remains elevated even after we adjust for the known cardiovascular risk factors," he said. "There have been suggestions of a genetic link, but the nature of the link is not entirely clear."

Even so, Lipton added, "Cardiovascular risk reduction is important for everybody. If you have migraine, it might be more important for you than for the general population. They should be particularly vigilant about controlling body weight, keeping blood pressure low, modifying all the risk factors that are within their control."

Studies are underway to see whether better control of migraine can reduce the cardiovascular risk, said Lipton, who is conducting one such study. "That is something we don't know yet," he stated. "But if you have four or five disabling migraine days a month, it makes sense to take the medications that control them. If they reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, so much the better."

Results of those studies are expected "over the next couple of years," Lipton said.

Cardiologists, especially those who treat women, should pay attention to those results and the current study, even though they appear in a neurology journal, said Dr. Holly Andersen, director of the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

"Clearly, the majority of people who have migraines are women, often young women," Andersen said. "This is a marker that might help prevent cardiac disease. There have been several large population studies that show women with migraines have an increased risk of cardiovascular events. These are the women we should be intervening with. If they use oral contraceptives there should be a concern, because they can form blood clots, particularly if they smoke."

And since the risk of stroke in women who have migraine is clear, "it's not too much of a stre
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