Its shadow: Stroke or heart attack
If you regularly suffer from migraine pain (especially if you develop auras, which are visual or sensory phenomena that accompany the headache), your doctor has probably warned you about your susceptibility to heart attack or stroke. Now, thanks to recent findings, experts better understand which cardiac ailment is more likely to occur for any given migraine sufferer.
Frequency matters. If you have fewer than one migraine a month, you’re 50% more likely to have a heart attack than nonsufferers. If migraines strike at least weekly, you have 3 times the risk of stroke, compared with those who don’t have this problem, says study coauthor Tobias Kurth, MD, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
Protect yourself: Unfortunately, existing research has not yet found that preventing migraines has the effect of lowering stroke or heart attack odds. However, by keeping your cardiovascular system as healthy as possible, you diminish your chance of a cardiac event, according to the National Stroke Association. To do this, control known hazards, such as high cholesterol and obesity, via diet and exercise. You should also quit smoking and limit alcohol intake (no more than one drink a day for women, according to the American Heart Association.) (Read Problem Solved: Migraines for more causes and cures.)