Migraines Can Be Risk Factor or Warning of Stroke

The number of strokes that people are having has gone up a great deal during the past decade or so.  Many strokes happen seemingly without warning, however, it is important to know the warning signs and symptoms of stroke, as these could help you prevent a stroke or lessen the impact of a stroke if you were to have one.  It is especially for women to know these signs because more women have strokes than men, and strokes in women account for more deaths than strokes in men.

Some risk factors for stroke are different than those for men and less talked about than major risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle and family history.  These are factors in both men and women. 

Factors that are more exclusive to women include taking birth control pills after age 35, which often raises the risk of stroke for a woman by 50%.  Another factor is pregnancy.  During pregnancy, there is a higher risk of stroke because during that time there is a higher blood volume and a higher risk of thrombosis which involves blood clots.

Another serious risk factor for stroke involves weight and triglycerides, especially in post-menopausal women.  It weight is too high or triglycerides are more than 128 mg/liter, a woman has over five times the risk of stroke as a postmenopausal woman without these issues.  In addition, women who have had more than one miscarriage usually have a higher incidence of blood clot issues, which can lead directly to stroke.  Heart defects which usually affect women more than men and are present in the form of mitral valve prolapse usually lead to strokes more often in women than men.

Last but not least Migraine Headaches are more common to women than to men, and are often directly linked to stroke.  It is important to take migraines seriously and to discuss them with your doctor, as with any and all of the risk factors listed above.

The good news about migraines is that there are effective medications available that can help get these debilitating headaches under control.  Many medications available today are not simply taken as a migraine forms and escalates.  There are medications that an individual takes to deal with prevention of migraines, and therefore, these medications are taken daily whether the person has a headache or not. 

It is important to discuss any of these issues with your doctor in advance.  Most often, especially with women, doctors do not bring these risk factors up, and when you have figured them out, it’s too late.  Don’t wait.  Talk to your doctor now.  Minimize your risk of stroke by addressing symptoms and controlling them.

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