This site is intended for health professionals only

Aura sufferers' heart risk

People who experience visual difficulties during a migraine are more likely to suffer stroke and heart disease, say experts.

A study shows that people who are affected by aura (disturbances before or during a migraine) are at a 21% higher risk of dying from any disease than people who don't have migraines.

The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is also 27% more likely for those who suffer from this, analysis for individual diseases shows.

People suffering from this visual disturbance combined with migraines were also at a 40% increased risk of dying from stroke and 28% more likely to die from coronary heart disease.

However, the researchers behind the study said the absolute risks for people with migraine and aura are still low.

The research found no increased risk of dying for people who suffer migraines without aura.

The study, published online in the British Medical Journal, examined data from 18,725 men and women born between 1907 and 1935 and living in Iceland.

A second paper, also published by the BMJ online, found that women who suffer migraines with aura are also at a higher risk of haemorrhagic stroke (where bleeding occurs in the brain). These account for around 20% of all strokes.

Copyright © Press Association 2010