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Migraine Associated With Cardiovascular Risk in Women

Last Updated: June 25, 2009.

Women who have migraine headaches with aura are at elevated risk for having cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online June 24 in Neurology.

THURSDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have migraine headaches with aura are at elevated risk for having cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online June 24 in Neurology.

Tobias Kurth, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues studied a cohort of women who where at least 45 years of age and did not have cardiovascular disease, focusing on those with a history of migraine headaches. The women were grouped by migraine frequency: < monthly, monthly, and ≥ weekly, and were followed for 11.9 years for the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that there were 706 cardiovascular disease events among the 3,568 women who had migraine. The disease risk varied by migraine frequency, but only for migraine with aura. Compared with women who did not have migraine, the risks for cardiovascular disease were: hazard ratio, 1.55 for < monthly attacks; hazard ratio, 0.65 for monthly attacks; and hazard ratio, 1.93 for ≥ weekly attacks. Women with migraine frequency < monthly had increased risk for coronary revascularization (hazard ratio, 1.81) and heart attack (hazard ratio, 2.43). The authors further note that women with migraine ≥ weekly were at increased risk for stroke (hazard ratio, 4.25).

"In our data, the association between migraine and cardiovascular disease varies by migraine frequency. Significant associations were only found among women with migraine with aura. Ischemic stroke was the only outcome associated with a high-attack frequency while a low-attack frequency was associated with any vascular event," the authors conclude.

Authors of the study reported relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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