Migraine & Hypertension Represent Increased Stroke Risk

When compared with patients who have hypertension (high blood pressure) alone, patients with both migraine disease and hypertension are more likely to suffer a stroke.

Researchers in Milan, Italy, conducted a survey of nearly 3,000 patients being treated in a general practice setting with a known diagnosis of hypertension or migraine. In patients without other recognized risk factors for stroke, patients with both hypertension and migraine in the 40-49 age range were more likely to experience stroke than patients with hypertension alone (4.8% in comorbidity vs. 0.9% in hypertension group).

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In the group of patients with both hypertension and migraine, the onset of their migraine disease occurred much later in life than in the migraine-only group. Researchers found the high blood pressure was harder to control in the group of patients with both conditions.

In past studies there seemed to be a higher stroke risk for patients with migraine with aura than among patients with migraine without aura, but in this study the patients with both conditions were found to be at greater stroke risk regardless of the type of migraine.

The study's authors recommend doctors carefully watch for the existence of these two conditions in patients already known to have migraine disease. They suggest practitioners begin checking their patients blood pressure at a young age to keep on top of the possibility of increased risk for stroke.

Though the overall risk for stroke is still low even if you live with migraine and hypertension, becoming familiar with the signs of a stroke is a good practice.

Symptoms of Stroke:

- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you believe you are having a stroke, please seek medical attention immediately.

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