Link Between Migraines, Strokes, Heart Attacks

Written by AnaLise on February 25, 2009 – 8:29 pm -

Researchers have examined whether a gene variant may affect the link between migraine and stroke or heart attacks. The study is published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

25,000 women who answered a questionnaire about their history of migraines and migraines with aura participated in the study. Aura is usually described as visual disturbances, such as flashing lights or geometric patterns. The women were tested for a genetic variant called the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) D/I polymorphism.

A total of 4,577 women reported a history of migraine and of those, 1,275 had migraine with aura. Twelve years after the start of the study, 625 strokes and heart attacks were reported.

There was no link found between the gene variant and migraine, migraine with aura, stroke or heart attacks. However, women who had migraine with aura and also were carriers of certain genotypes, called the DD and the DI genotypes, had double the risk of stroke and heart attacks. In contrast, women who had migraine with aura and were carriers of a third genotype, called the II genotype, were not at increased risk. The authors add the caution that this relationship was identified with very little information and must be tested in other studies to determine if it is real.

“The relationship among this gene variant, migraine, stroke and heart disease is extremely complex and has been the focus of numerous studies, and the results have been controversial,” according to study author Markus Schurks, MD, MSc, with the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Getting to the bottom of whether there is a connection and why may help to develop ways to prevent issues like stroke and heart disease, which are leading causes of death in the United States.”

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A New Fact About Migraines

Written by AnaLise on October 30, 2008 – 10:28 am -

I recently ran across some information that was a little surprising (but somehow made sense) regarding someone who suffered migraine headaches.  Sometimes, we find information that we don’t really expect.  In this particular case, the information shows how much migraine treatment and relief has changed and advanced.

It seems that the author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, suffered from migraine headaches.  In fact, it is now thought that those migraines caused hallucinations, and all of this added up to the inspiration for the book that most of us have read ourselves and most of our children have read, too.

If you ever suffered from debilitating migraines, you can possibly imagine a man being tortured by severe headache pain along with the nausea, extreme sensitivity to light and the extreme sensitivity to noise. 

When people suffer from migraines, they are pretty much not up to doing anything. Their senses – especially sight, sound, smell and taste – are impaired during migraines, especially migraines with aura.  In addition to the other symptoms of migraine headaches, migraine aura can include seeing spots, feeling faint, seeing wavy lines and other symptoms.

Whether you believe that Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or not, it is clear to most people that he was dealing with hallucinations.  If these hallucinations were brought on by migraine headaches, it is understandable how some of the situations described in the book came to be.

Those of us who have suffered migraines understand the feeling of falling down a hole – or wanting to – and other situations.  It is important, though, to make sure you seek medical attention for your migraines.  They can be connected to other serious health problems including stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and blindness.  If your doctor brushes you off or doesn’t take you seriously, find another doctor. 

Migraines can be fatal.  Make sure you do everything you can to treat them.

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