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Risk of a Stroke and Heart Disease in People with Migraines with Aura

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The National Women's Health Information Center explains that 29.5 million people in the United States suffer from migraines, with migraines occurring in women more often than men. A severe type of headache, a migraine causes throbbing pain on either one or both sides of the patient's head. Migraines occur in people between the ages of 15 and 55, and they may become less severe and frequent as patients age.

MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, points out that migraines results from abnormal brain activity, which stress, environmental factors or foods may trigger. For example, some people may have a migraine after eating chocolate, dairy products or nuts, or they may have a migraine after missing meals.

Some patients who have migraines also have an aura, which is a “warning sign” that they are about to have a migraine. MedlinePlus notes that patients who have migraines with aura have the aura 10 to 15 minutes before the onset of the migraine. The MayoClinic.com explains that the most common aura feature is a visual disturbance, such as a loss of vision, flashes of light or blind spots. People who have these visual auras may see them starting in the center of their visual field and then see them spread out. Other symptoms that may occur with the visual aura include confusion, language problems and numbness.

In two new studies, which were both published the British Medical Journal, note that people who have migraines with aura may have an increased risk of a stroke or heart disease. HealthDay News reports that the first study included 18,725 men and women from Iceland who had midlife migraines; these participants were born between 1907 and 1935.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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