TUESDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Women who suffer from migraines with visual effects called aura may face an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes and blood clots, new studies find.
Only high blood pressure was a more powerful predictor of cardiovascular trouble, the researchers said.
There are things women with this type of migraine can do to reduce that risk, they added: lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, avoid smoking, eat healthfully and exercise.
"Other studies have found that this form of migraine has been associated with the risk of stroke, and may be associated with any cardiovascular disease," said lead author Dr. Tobias Kurth, from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "We find migraine with aura is a quite strong contributor to major cardiovascular disease. It is one of the top two risk factors."
Other studies have found the risk for cardiovascular disease for people who suffer from migraines with aura is roughly double that of people without the condition, Kurth noted.
People who suffer from migraines with aura see flickering lights or other visual effects just before the headache kicks in, he explained.
The findings are to be presented in March at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in San Diego.
For the study, Kurth's team collected data on nearly 28,000 women who took part in the Women's Health Study. Among these women, more than 1,400 suffered from migraines with aura.
During 15 years of follow-up, more than 1,000 women had a heart attack, stroke or died from cardiovascular causes, the researchers found.
After high blood pressure, migraine with aura was the strongest predictor for having a heart attack or stroke among these women. The risk was even more pronounced than that associated with diabetes, smoking, obesit
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