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Migraines linked to heart attacks

Blinding headaches are linked to a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes in women, according to a study.

Researchers in the US found women who suffer migraines at least once a week are three times more likely to have a stroke than those who had none.

Scientists monitored 27,798 women aged 45 or older over an average of 12 years and recorded 706 cerebrovascular events involving the brain's blood circulation, 305 heart attacks and 310 ischaemic strokes.

An ischaemic stroke is one in which insufficient blood reaches parts of the brain, causing them to die.

The frequency of the different events was compared with the women's history of migraine.

Study leader Dr Tobias Kurth, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, said: "Our findings suggest that migraine frequency may be an indicator for increased risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly ischaemic stroke.

"Future studies are needed to address whether migraine prevention reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease."

"Our results may indicate that the mechanisms by which migraine associates with specific cardiovascular events may differ. More research is needed to determine the reasons for these results."

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Harvard Medical School

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