Women who suffer from migraines have a reason to be worried. New research suggests that such women have a 50 percent greater chance of developing heart problems. The alarm surrounding revelations such as this emanates from the fact that migraines are so widespread, which makes this issue a public health concern.
Doctors have been talking about the link between migraines and ailments such as heart attacks and strokes since 2009, though those particular conversations focused on migraines with aura.
Admittedly, the results of this new study aren’t nearly as alarming as some people may suggest. Considering that only 1.2 percent of the 100,000 women that took part in the study had major cardiovascular disease events like strokes, this 50% increase only took the risk to 1.8%.
For the authors of this study, the purpose of their research is to figure out whether migraine treatments can actually reduce the risk of heart diseases.
The study, which was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, was published in the British Medical Journal. And while it endeavored to explain that the risk to individual women was not particularly large, this reassuring tone has been largely ignored by a lot of the media coverage, with many headlines suggesting that all women suffering from migraines were likely to die from a stroke or heart attack.
Prospective cohort studies such as this one, carried out by persons from Harvard Medical School, Washington University of Medicine (U.S) and Charite-Universitatsmedizin (Germany), and involving women that were participating in the ongoing US Nurses’ Health Study are typically used to determine the presence or absence of links and trends in the health sector.
The study was restricted to women between the ages of 25 and 42 who were asked numerous questions about their lifestyle and health. Using big data from the Nurses’ Health Study which began in 1989, and following up on the women every 24 months until 2011, the researchers tried to figure out if women who had been diagnosed with migraines had contracted or died from cardiovascular disease.
The results of the researchers’ analysis revealed a notable connection between migraines and cardiovascular disease.
The authors of the study have admitted that they do not know if their work is relevant to men with migraines or non-white women (most of the women in the study were white).
Additionally, the study didn’t determine the reason migraines brought about an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. For the moment, it is too early to determine whether or not the results of this research can be used to combat cardiovascular disease.