Migraines and Heart Health – Wear Red This Friday

When you think about Migraines and your health, do you think about your heart? Probably not. Migraines are enough to fully occupy our attention.

Did you know that just having Migraines increases our risk of cardiovascular disease and events? This is something that all of us need to know. Here are some facts and statistics from recent Migraine research:

  • Migraine overall and especially Migraine with aura have been associated with myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, and claudication (pain in the calf, thigh or hip muscle that occurs after walking).
  • In one study, participants with Migraine were more likely than control participants to have:
  • diabetes (12.6% vs. 9.4%),
  • high cholesterol (32.7% vs. 25.6%),
  • hypertension (33.1% vs. 27.5%),
  • Risk was higher in Migraine with aura, but remained elevated in Migraine without aura.
  • Migraine was associated significantly with:
  • myocardial infarction: occurred in 4.1% of Migraine group, 1.9% of control group;
  • strokes: occurred in 2.1% of Migraine group, 1.2% of the control group;
  • claudication: occurred in 2.9% of Migraine group, 2.57% of control group.

Diener et al came to three conclusions based on this research:

  1. The absolute risk of cardiovascular events in Migraineurs is still small, so patients should be given actual numbers rather than figures of relative risk increases.
  2. The perception that Migraineurs have a healthier lifestyle is incorrect. They base this on the higher incidence of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
  3. Migraineurs, particularly those who have Migraine with aura, should be evaluated for cardiovascular disease risk factors and taught how to reduce modifiable risk factors.

This is the perfect time for Migraineurs, especially women, to give extra thought to heart health. Friday, February 4, is National Wear Red Day. Sponsored by the American Heart Association, Wear Red Day is an initiative to raise awareness that heart disease is women’s No. 1 killer. The campaign provides women with tips and information on healthy eating, exercise, and risk factor reduction, such as smoking cessation, weight maintenance, blood pressure control and blood cholesterol management.

Wear Red Day is a good day for Migraineurs to make an appointment with our doctors to discuss our risk factors and how we can reduce them. Migraine management needs to encompass overall health management as well.

My husband and I will be wearing red on Friday. Will you please join us?

For more information on Wear Red Day and women’s heart health, visit the Wear Red Day web site.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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