Summary: Women who suffer from migraines have a slightly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and strokes in later life, a new study reports.
Female patients with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Women who suffer from migraine headaches have a slightly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in later life. A team of researchers led by Prof. Tobias Kurth, Head of the Institute of Public Health (IPH) at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, has now been able to establish the following: female migraine patients have a higher risk of stroke or heart attacks than women without migraine. Their findings are based on an analysis of data collected as part of the US-based Nurses’ Health Study II, and have been published in the British Medical Journal.
According to the Professional Association of German Neurologists (BDN), migraine headaches have a high prevalence in the general population, and affect approximately one in five women. While migraines are known to be linked to an increased risk of stroke, only a few studies exist that demonstrate the relationship of migraines with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. A team of US and German researchers have now analyzed data from more than 115,500 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II.
The participants were aged between 25 and 42 years at baseline and free from cardiovascular disease and, of them, 17,531 (just over 15%) reported a physician’s diagnosis of migraine. Between 1989 and 2011, cardiovascular events were observed in 1,329 of these women; 223 died as a result. “Our analysis suggests that migraine should be considered an important risk marker for cardiovascular disease, particularly in women,” concludes Prof. Kurth, adding that: “The risk of developing cardiovascular events was shown to be 50% higher in women with a diagnosis of migraine. When compared to women unaffected by the condition, the risk of developing a heart attack was 39% higher for women with migraine, the risk of having a stroke 62% higher, and that of developing angina 73% higher.”
While the study included a large number of vascular risk factors, no information was available on individual biomarkers, or migraine specifics such as the presence or absence of migraine aura. Further research will therefore be necessary in order to identify the underlying causes responsible for these links, and to develop preventative treatments. The question of whether male migraine sufferers also have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease remains to be elucidated. “Migraine has a high prevalence in the general population. Consequently, there is an urgent need to understand the biological mechanisms and processes to provide preventative solutions for patients with migraine.”
Funding: This study had no specific funding. The Nurses’ Health Study II is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (HL-088521, HL-34594, CA-050385, CA-176276). The funding agencies had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Source: Tobias Kurth – Charité
Image Source: This NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Migraine and risk of cardiovascular disease in women: prospective cohort study” by Tobias Kurth, Anke C. Winter, A. Heather Eliassen, Rimma Dushkes, Kenneth J. Mukamal, Eric B. Rimm, Walter C. Willett, JoAnn E. Manson, and Kathryn M. Rexrode in BMJ. Published online May 31 2016 doi:10.1136/bmj.i2610
[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]Charité. “Migraines Could Be a Risk Marker For Stroke and Heart Attack.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 14 June 2016.
<https://neurosciencenews.com/migraine-stroke-risk-neurology-4461/>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]Charité. (2016, June 14). Migraines Could Be a Risk Marker For Stroke and Heart Attack. NeuroscienceNew. Retrieved June 14, 2016 from https://neurosciencenews.com/migraine-stroke-risk-neurology-4461/[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]Charité. “Migraines Could Be a Risk Marker For Stroke and Heart Attack.” https://neurosciencenews.com/migraine-stroke-risk-neurology-4461/ (accessed June 14, 2016).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]
Migraine and risk of cardiovascular disease in women: prospective cohort study
Objective To evaluate the association between migraine and incident cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality in women.
Design Prospective cohort study among Nurses’ Health Study II participants, with follow-up from 1989 and through June 2011.
Setting Cohort of female nurses in United States.
Participants 115 541 women aged 25-42 years at baseline and free of angina and cardiovascular disease. Cumulative follow-up rates were more than 90%.
Main outcome measures The primary outcome of the study was major cardiovascular disease, a combined endpoint of myocardial infarction, stroke, or fatal cardiovascular disease. Secondary outcome measures included individual endpoints of myocardial infarction, stroke, angina/coronary revascularization procedures, and cardiovascular mortality.
Results 17 531 (15.2%) women reported a physician’s diagnosis of migraine. Over 20 years of follow-up, 1329 major cardiovascular disease events occurred and 223 women died from cardiovascular disease. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, migraine was associated with an increased risk for major cardiovascular disease (hazard ratio 1.50, 95% confidence interval 1.33 to 1.69), myocardial infarction (1.39, 1.18 to 1.64), stroke (1.62, 1.37 to 1.92), and angina/coronary revascularization procedures (1.73, 1.29 to 2.32), compared with women without migraine. Furthermore, migraine was associated with a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality (hazard ratio 1.37, 1.02 to 1.83). Associations were similar across subgroups of women, including by age (<50/≥50), smoking status (current/past/never), hypertension (yes/no), postmenopausal hormone therapy (current/not current), and oral contraceptive use (current/not current).
Conclusions Results of this large, prospective cohort study in women with more than 20 years of follow-up indicate a consistent link between migraine and cardiovascular disease events, including cardiovascular mortality. Women with migraine should be evaluated for their vascular risk. Future targeted research is warranted to identify preventive strategies to reduce the risk of future cardiovascular disease among patients with migraine.
“Migraine and risk of cardiovascular disease in women: prospective cohort study” by Tobias Kurth, Anke C. Winter, A. Heather Eliassen, Rimma Dushkes, Kenneth J. Mukamal, Eric B. Rimm, Walter C. Willett, JoAnn E. Manson, and Kathryn M. Rexrode in BMJ. Published online May 31 2016 doi:10.1136/bmj.i2610