Study Finds Migraine as Robust Risk Factor for Several Heart Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), a wide spectrum of disorders affecting the heart and blood vessels, form the leading cause of death globally among all other diseases, according to a recent factsheet revealed by World Health Organization (WHO). The need for an early detection and proper management intensifies in populations who carry high risk factors, popularly of them being hypertension and diabetes. A recent study by investigators at Stanford University, California, USA and Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, suggests migraine as a potential and recurrent risk factors for a range of cardiovascular diseases, both among men and women. The role of the migraine, a condition characterized by recurrent headache, in causing stroke and heart attacks has long been hinted at by several previous research. However, its association with other CVDs hasn’t been clearly established. The recent observational study delves deeper into exploring this link. The findings will prove useful in devising appropriate interventional and prevention strategies to reduce the burden of CVD in people with migraine.

The study was published on January 31 in a renowned peer-reviewed medical journal, The BMJ.

Large Sample Data and Lengthy Follow-up Key Strengths of Study

The study is comprehensive in its approach since it included extensive patient data from over 51,000 participants with migraine and compared it with the data from at least 510,000 people who didn’t suffer from migraine. The data was collected from the Danish National Patient Registry during the period 1995–2013, with average age of the diagnosis was found to be 35 years; of note, 71% of them were women. The investigators inferred that migraine was closely and positively linked with several of the CVDs such as ischaemic stroke, heart attack, blood clot, and irregular heart beats. The researchers discounted the effect of body mass index and smoking on participants.
The study, however, couldn’t establish any noticeable association with peripheral artery diseases or heart failure. Furthermore, unknown factors such as the lack of physical activity among patients may dilute the strength of the findings.

Devising Potential Prevention Strategy for CVD calls for More Research Funding

The researchers based their findings on several factors. They postulate that people with migraine frequently take anti-inflammatory drugs, which may aggravate the risk of CVD. In addition, the lack of mobility characterized with migraine attacks may become a potential risk factor for blood clots. The researchers exhort clinicians for concerted effort to reduce the risk from migraine and calls for more funding in research and clinical studies establishing more definite association between the diseases.

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