Migraines Predict Future Strokes and Heart Attacks

by Jamie Davis

shutterstock_93950644Kicking off the news this week is a peculiar report on women with migraines accompanied by an aura and an apparent relationship between that and future cardiovascular events. The study was based on data from the Women’s Health Study that looked at nearly 30,000 women, about 1400 of whom had reported migraine with an aura.

When compared to other cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and family history, migraines with an aura correlated to more serious cardiovascular events like myocardial infarction or stroke than any risk factor except extreme high systolic blood pressure of 180 or higher. Patients with aura migraines also are at greater risk for thrombotic events like deep vein thrombosis. This came from a second study also looking at the Women’s Health Study.

What does this mean for us and our patients? Well, while the direct relationship is unsure, women with migraines with an aura should pay closer attention to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease that they can control like reducing smoking, managing high blood pressure, and reaching a healthy weight goal.

Keep Lists of Community Health Resources

We, as nurses, can help them reach these goals by referring our patients to resources that help them reduce these risk factors. What community based resources like these are available in your community. Local weight loss programs and support groups have regular meetings. Keep an updated list of them. Find out when diabetes education programs are offered or work with other health professionals to start one yourself. Smart phones are great for these types of lists and calendar items and you’ll always have your list of local health resources handy and updated.

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